2010-10-16 / News

Township completes church purchase

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – It’s official; Union Township Trustees have completed the purchase of a former church.

Trustees purchased the former Licking Baptist Church and its 7.1-acre lot at 1380 Beaver Run Rd. for $310,000 during a Licking County Sheriff’s auction Sept. 3. Trustees intend to convert the 6,800 square foot church into township offices, record storage, and possibly equipment storage, a base for the Union Township Police Department and a satellite fire station.

Trustee President John Slater said Oct. 4 that they have made full payment and are now working out a timeline with the former church owners, who are still removing personal property, in anticipation of the township beginning renovations.

The property’s appraised value is $320,000 and the township was the sole bidder against the Baptist Foundation, which held the mortgage. The property includes a covered 36 by 60 feet picnic shelter with a concrete floor and electrical service, a roughly 1.5 acre gravel parking lot, plus an overgrown basketball court and a baseball/ softball field at the rear of the property. The property backs up to four homes.

Slater said he’s been inundated with calls from office management services and other contractors vying to help the township renovate the church.

Trustee Jesse Ours said a real estate agent called him, asking if the trustees would be willing to sell it, but neither Slater nor Ours was interested. Ours didn’t say how much the real estate agent was willing to pay for the church.

Slater said the agent assumed the township was just interested in the land, and not in using the church building. He said once the real estate agent understood the township wants the church as well as the property, the conversation ended. “It was just a passing inquiry,” said Slater.

Trustee Rick Black was absent Monday night.

In other township news:

• Slater said township repaving projects are nearly complete. “All in all, the paving was a great success,” he said. The only major glitch was on Old Farm Road, where work crews were supposed to maintain traffic at all times. Apparently, said Slater, no one at the Shelly Company – the township’s contractor – received the message and traffic was occasionally blocked. “It created a little bit a havoc,” he said. “That was unfortunate.”

Slater said Old Farm residents were happy to have their roads resurfaced, despite the traffic delays. It is a three-part process, with three passes per road for the seal, limestone chips and then the fog seal.

• Trustees will continue to purchase employee health insurance through the Ohio Insurance Services Agency. Agent Frank Harmon said the township will pay $125,000 for coverage this year compared to $139,000 last year. An older employee retired this summer and has not been replaced. A good carryover from last year also helped keep the cost down.

Slater said he received a couple proposals from other insurance companies, but suggested staying with the Ohio Insurance Services Agency. Ours agreed. Trustees will hold a meeting with Black and all township employees to discuss benefits soon.

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