The Ward Memorial Library will have a new tenant on Oct. 1.
The Dolgeville Village Board of Trustees on Monday evening reached an agreement on the terms of a lease for the vacant building with Jimmy Foster.
Foster, a Dolgeville native who lived in Virginia recently returned to upstate New York to continue his Christian-based Church Without Walls ministry.
“It’s more of an outreach center than a church,” he said Monday evening. “My vision for the library is similar to the vision Ward Halverson had when he operated a center there. We plan to give coffee away for free and to have Christian books for people to rent out … a place for kids to come and study, to use our free Wi-Fi and to listen to music. It’ll be a community oriented center.”
The board of trustees reached a similar agreement with Stoney Creek Community Center for use of the library in May, however, Stoney Creek never occupied the building.
“As long as the ministry is a not-for-profit and is not selling things and making money, I have no problem with it,” said Trustee Larry Brandow. “If they plan on giving away everything for free all the better. It would be good to see the building used.”
Village Attorney Norman Mastromoro said the lease is the same agreement the village had with East Canada Valley Vision, Riverside Community Center and Stoney Creek Community Center for use of the building. Foster will pay $100 a month for use of the building at 22 N. Main St. and will be responsible for all utilities. The village will also be listed as an additional insured on Foster’s insurance for the community center.
The agreement includes a clause that allows both parties to end the lease with 30 days notice. It also states the lease fee may only be increased by mutual agreement.
“The library will serve as the base for our ministry,” said Foster. “It’s not our intent to push anything on anyone, but we want people to know that if they need help, if they need someone to talk to we are here for them. Having a building like the library will make it easier for us to reach people than running the ministry out of my garage.”
Foster added he is currently working on transferring his ministry’s not-for-profit status from Virginia to New York and that the center will be supervised by adults.
“There will be adult supervision there. We do not plan on having kids operate the center like it was past. We have a number of people who have joined our ministry and they will help operate the center. It won’t be open every day or for an entire day, but we do plan on having a presence in the village and look forward to being part of the community.”
Page 2 of 2 - Mayor Bruce Lyon said he attended the ministry’s “Movie in the Park” program in the summer and was impressed with what he saw. “Everything was free. Free hot dogs, free popcorn, free soda. I tried to make a donation, but they wouldn’t have it. The program seemed to be well received and I wish them the best with their latest endeavor. It will be good to see the building occupied rather than just sitting there empty like it is now.”
In other business Monday evening, the board of trustees passed a resolution establishing March 18, 2014, as the date for the next village election. Available seats in village government will include mayor, which carries a four-year term, two trustee seats that carry four-year terms and one trustee seat that carries a two-year term. Trustee Mary Puznowski is the only member of the village board who will not have to seek re-election.