EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was written in response to a reader-submitted query via Open Source, a platform the place readers can ask Richland Supply’s newsroom to research a query.
ONTARIO ─ The unfinished church at 1943 Park Avenue West has drawn the neighborhood’s consideration for a few years.
Earlier this 12 months, a reader requested Richland Supply a query that has lingered in individuals’s minds:
What is going on with the church that was began so way back on Park Avenue in Ontario? It’s sat there perpetually with no exercise.
The property is owned by Grace Brethren Church at 531 Marion Ave. in Mansfield. The Rev. J. Hudson Thayer, the church’s pastor, not too long ago informed Richland Supply the church has no intention to complete the mission and has been attempting to promote the property for years, however no critical consumers have come alongside.
The constructing is at 60 p.c completion at this level, the pastor mentioned.
“If there have been somebody who has a necessity for that a lot property, and particularly if they might make the most of the present constructing, we’d be pleased to promote it,” he added.
Based on property information on the Richland County Auditor’s website, the parcel the constructing sits on contains greater than 17 acres. Grace Brethren Church purchased the land in 1992 in response to rising membership, in line with a call of Richland County Widespread Pleas Court docket Justice of the Peace in 2008.
The congregation-ruled church employed contractor Henry Gassaway, who began constructing building in Could 2002, in line with the Justice of the Peace’s determination. In Could 2008, Gassaway sued the church for owing him funds for building bills. Nevertheless, the Justice of the Peace decided that the congregation by no means accredited the proposed value via a vote, which didn’t justify the contractor’s request for cash. Gassaway handed away in 2014.
Thayer mentioned the congregation determined to promote the property on Park Avenue West not lengthy after the Justice of the Peace made the choice. It had initially accepted a decent provide that didn’t pan out as a consequence of lack of funds.
The provide was from an area church that wished to develop, Thayer mentioned. The pastor additionally mentioned Grace Brethren Church solely took the phrase from a consultant for that church. It didn’t demand something within the provide as a result of nobody had the enterprise experience to take action.
Thayer mentioned no critical provide has been made on that property since then, whereas some people with “huge plans” have reached out over time.
“Primarily, they’re asking the church simply to provide them the property,” the pastor mentioned. “They’re candy individuals. They’re simply not working on the idea of actual enterprise transactions.”
When the constructing building is completed, there could be an acre of house underneath the roof, Thayer mentioned. There is no such thing as a pillar within the constructing, so individuals would be capable of see the entrance of the room wherever they sit.
Whereas the church intends to promote the property, there isn’t a “on the market” signal onsite. Thayer mentioned the church has used a realtor’s service and put up an indication earlier than, nevertheless it was not helpful.
Moreover, based mostly on the church’s expertise, individuals who want that a lot property or have an curiosity within the space know learn how to discover obtainable properties, Thayer mentioned.
The pastor mentioned many individuals have informed the church to spend cash tearing down the prevailing constructing and simply promote the land.
“We might reasonably simply have it as an asset that could possibly be fairly a boon to any person that is in want for one thing like that,” Thayer mentioned.
He added the church doesn’t have any monetary issues and has no have to promote the property to pay money owed. It doesn’t hire out the property or makes use of it for any business enterprise.
“We’d have been pleased if it might have been used for some Christian goal,” Thayer mentioned. “We predict that the way forward for that constructing is within the arms of the Lord. And He would not appear to be in a rush. So we do not suppose we needs to be in a rush, both.”
The pastor acknowledged that the thought might not make a lot sense within the enterprise world.
Ontario Mayor Randy Hutchinson mentioned town receives calls and complaints relating to the property yearly. It has inspected the constructing a number of occasions since he took workplace in 2014.
The mayor mentioned the church stored all the things as much as the county codes so town couldn’t implement something.
Like many residents in the neighborhood, he mentioned it will be good to see one thing get carried out with the property.