Memorial Baptist Church Building Committee
February 2024 News: Most of the Building Committee members met on February 13 to walk through the Inn on the Green buildings with Matt Curran. We learned Middlebury College will no longer house students in that building. They are currently talking with Otter Creek Childcare about the Inn being used as a temporary place while their Weybridge Street location undergoes a rebuilding project. Matt Curran told us if OCCC does use the Inn and Carriage house, it could be for up to 18 months beginning in June.
We asked about how that would affect parking. Matt said that staff would park in front. Drop off and pick up hours may see many cars coming and going. The childcare center only operates Monday - Friday.
As to the buildings themselves... They are in good shape with lots of space. There was one kitchen and a few other kitchenettes.
After the OC Childcare moves back to their location, Matt told us the College would most likely be putting it on the market.
The Building Committe has yet to meet to process all of this. We will post notes from that meeting when it happens.
January 2024 News: The building committee will be taking a look at the inside of the Inn on the Green on February 13. It is still not for sale at this time. But it would be good to do so we have more information should it ever go on sale.
December 2023 news: We have learned from Matt Curran of Middlebury College that they have decided to hold off selling the Inn and will continue using the building. We are still gathering data on this news and will report what we learn. We still plan to take a look at the inside of the buildings soon.
November 2023 News:
Meeting #1 November 9, 2023
We are meeting to discuss the options before us, investigate details for each, and discern God’s will for MBC’s path forward in regard to space issues.
Alice Eckles, Henry Freeman, Tom Howard, Lou Nop, Jeff Rehbach, Dutton Smith, Melinda Williams, Pastor Stephanie (not present: John Curler)
We had an extended period of prayer for discernment
We reviewed the Questionnaire the architect (VIA) provided and the comments created from a joint Deacons and Trustees meeting on July 2023. This helped get us started on the same page as a team.
Architect, Ashar Nelson at VIA, has communicated with Dutton that their schedule had slipped and they do not expect to be able to spend any time on the project until January/February, 2024. Until this is done, we have nothing to discuss as to this option.
This allowed us to focus our energies on the Buying the Inn option for now.
Lou spoke with Matt Curran (Midd College). They plan to sell the Inn in 2024 and the town wants it to return to some sort of “community use”, in other words, not a College use. The college paid $1.5 million for it and they would want to get that back.
All agreed that buying the Inn probably does give us more ‘bang for the buck’ than building an addition from scratch. (though that not what guides our decision. God does that.) It was noted that the parking that comes with the building is high value and perhaps the college would consider adding in more parking spaces to the deal?
The obvious thought is to use the Annex for MBC space issues (if it provides what we need) and then use the main house as something else, TBD. What are potential uses? Ideas about what that could be were mentioned. We only scratched the surface of this question, in full knowledge that God would reveal that later, if purchasing the Inn was where God was leading us.
(FYI: Dutton spoke with Dan Brown, former owner of the Swift House, to ask if he thought the inn house without the Annex could still be a viable business. He was doubtful that it would be.)
Two additional thoughts regarding the Annex building:
1) could be moved to back lawn which would provide additional parking spaces.
2. could stay where it is and build a connector hallway to the church building.
These ideas about potential for-profit uses and non-profit ministry uses brought up the question of taxes.
It is important to understand the tax laws related to these different uses as we move forward in discussion about the Inn. Lou will contact his lawyer to comment on tax issues and uses of the building. From what we know now, if the buildings were attached to the church building it would be considered part of the church and we would not have to taxes and if it wasn’t used for a for-profit business.
Will there be any pushback from the town if MBC buys this?
It was noted that the town officials were in favor of the church buying the property.
However there could be some pushback from the community depending on what the usage ends up being.
Lou will ask Matt Curran (Midd College) for more specifics about the sale of the property and the timing of it. Lou will also speak to Dave Wetmore (Town Official) to get his take on it. Click Here for what was learned from Dave W.
Once we have some answers to these questions, we hope to put together a questionnaire for the church membership. (We all are in the discerning process together)
We don’t have any, but if God is leading us in this direction (Inn). We will need to gather info on loan and put out a call for donations.
When the time is right, we can establish a page on our website asking regarding donation. Congregational Church got a lot of contributions from their online community. Pastor Stephanie does not think all the money will be coming from just MBC people. We’ve received sizable donations in the past from outside MBC.
We will not be asking for pledges ahead of time. Any giving should not be instead of people’s regular giving/tithing
It was noted that the college just gave a valuable lot to Habitat for Humanity. Maybe they will be willing to cut us a deal if they know it will help the housing problems in Middlebury.
We have a budget meeting with the membership in a month. We can have a discussion then.
Lou will try to arrange it so we can physically get into the buildings to look around – during the college break.
The Building Committee should be totally transparent.
Lou will report to the committee after his meetings with the college, town and his lawyer.
Ended meeting with prayer.