2011-08-20 / News

Pastor interested in old Baptist church

By Scott Rawdon

UNION TOWNSHIP – A pastor may have interest in the old Baptist church building at the corner of Beaver Run and Canyon roads, said Union Township Trustee Jesse Ours Monday night.

“It’s a real good congregation,” he said. Ours said Rev. Ray Sunkle, of Newark’s Church of Christ in Christian Union was directed to the American Baptist Churches of Ohio to discuss possibly taking over the property, which the Baptist Foundation currently owns.

“The property is still theirs,” said Trustee Rick Black. “It hasn’t even come close to our hands.” He was clear the township currently has no authority or responsibility regarding the church.

In May, Larry Swain, executive minister for the American Baptist Churches of Ohio, attended a Union Township Trustees meeting to offer the trustees the abandoned church and possibly the active cemetery at the corner of Canyon and Beaver Run roads. Black said the church and the cemetery are on the same parcel of property, and according to the Ohio Revised Code, a cemetery owner can abandon maintenance responsibility to the township if the owner is no longer able to maintain it. In other words, the township may have no legal choice but to take responsibility for the old church and the cemetery. Since the church has gravesites on its property, then the township would also be required to maintain the old church building.

Trustees, who have no township use for the old church, have been clear that given a choice they would rather not be in charge of it, and would rather see the church go to someone whom it would benefit.

“There’s nothing firm at this moment,” said American Baptist Churches of Ohio Regional Minister Robert Cassady. He said Wednesday that Sunkle planned to send a written request to him, which would be passed to the foundation for review. “Then we’ll go from there,” said Cassady, who didn’t know how much the foundation may or may not charge Sunkle for the building.

Sunkle couldn’t be reached for comment.

In other township news:

• Monday night trustees approved a resolution to allow them to enter into contract with contractor Bill Gulick, whom the trustees chose to complete security and other upgrades to the Union Township Complex. Ours abstained from vote because Gulick works for Ours as an independent contractor.

Township Administrator Paula Greene said trustees received the contract from the Licking County Prosecutor’s office shortly before Monday night’s meeting and neither they nor Gulick had enough time to review it. “We are moving in a timely manner,” said Greene. She said trustees would read the contract and discuss it with Gulick before approving it.

Black said he didn’t know when they may approve the contract.

• Trustees are still deciding whether to repair or replace a rusty tractor used to load salt into trucks. “Reliability is the concern,” said Trustee President John Slater.

Black said the salt has corroded the tractor to where hydrau- lic lines were replaced and the engine is rusted. “Some of the salt just blows back on the tractor,” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of corrosion.” Black’s concerned the tractor will fail this winter when it’s needed most.

Previously, Slater said the tractor would cost $40,000 to $55,000 to replace. Should it require replacement, trustees discussed replacing the tractor with a backhoe, which has a loading bucket on the front and a digging bucket on the rear (not a trackhoe, which a story in the Aug. 6 edition stated incorrectly). Black said the current loader has a loading bucket on the front and a scraper on the back.

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