The Gathering Place Church is hoping to breathe new life into an old building it can share with the city of Galt.
The church has offered to fix up the Jaycees Hall at 405 Fifth St. so that it can serve as a community center.
The building was at the center of a costly lawsuit between the city and the now-defunct Boys and Girls Club of Galt. It was ultimately purchased by the city in 2010, but there has not been money available to rehabilitate the building.
"We have had discussions with The Gathering Place and the council has expressed interest, but nothing has been approved yet. We are still working out the details," city manager Jason Behrmann said. "If they're willing to help us renovate at a time when we can't afford it, great."
The property served as a meeting hall for the Jaycees organization, but was vacant and boarded up for time before being purchased for a Boys and Girls Club. Gathering Place pastor Larry Brand remembers attending events there as a child decades ago.
It was built in the 1950s and originally used as a women's auxiliary hall.
Behrmann said staff will present a report to the Galt City Council soon in order to approve an agreement with The Gathering Place. Building assessments are currently underway to insure the building is structurally sound.
"We're going to come up with a list of everything that needs to be done, and then meet with The Gathering Place for a possible division of labor," Behrmann said. "If they can do it all, great."
From the street, one can see broken windows and missing siding. Inside, it is filled with discarded furniture, an incomplete set of encyclopedias, history books and broken children's toys.
Over the last year, The Gathering Place renovated the adjacent property at 411 Fifth St. with plans to possibly open it as transitional housing, according to Behrmann. The transitional housing will be available to one household at a time for up to six months at a time for individuals or families experiencing a variety of temporary hardships.
The church has secured donations from Lowe's of not only supplies but labor, Behrmann said.
The Gathering Place would like to use the Jaycees building a couple of times per month for a senior citizens breakfast and food closet distribution site, while the city could expand its Parks and Recreation programs or move its senior programs from the Chabolla Center there.
"If we can make it work, it's big enough for our programs," Behrmann said. "It'd make a great addition."
The city first entered into an agreement with the Boys and Girls Club in 2006 to develop and construct a new clubhouse at the Jaycee site and on the neighboring property. The city paid $400,000 with joint-use plans to house its Parks and Recreation programs, but the clubhouse was never built.
In May 2009, the Boys and Girls Club sold the 405 Fifth St. property for $32,500 to three private citizens, which the council said at the time proved the organization did not plan to build the clubhouse.
The city sued the club later that year in an attempt to recoup some of the funds. In the settlement, the city received $40,000 in cash and 411 Fifth St., which has two houses on it valued at around $261,578.
In July 2010, the City Council approved purchasing the 405 Fifth St. property for $40,000.
At the time, city staff said it would likely request proposals from developers or nonprofits about projects that could go on that site, according to News-Sentinel archives.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at email@example.com.