Getting Close to Closing and Construction

Getting Close to Closing and Construction

The legal documents for closing were submitted to HUD on April 26, so they are expected back before the end of this month. Once they have been approved by HUD, closing on the financing for Old First House will happen almost immediately. And then construction will begin. We are working on getting clarity on what the initial stages of construction will look like. 

The JVMT is scheduled to meet with representatives from DOMUS, the supervising contractor for Old First House, at their meeting next Wednesday. 

But, as of now, we can expect things to get going in the first two weeks of June. That is going to have effects on parking, planting, bricks and anything else we want to salvage from the Fox or Christian Education buildings. 

1. We expect to lose the front and back parking lots in the next month. So let’s think about that: 

~ We did get the loading zone in front of the church. At first, it was put in the wrong place, but that has since been corrected. It runs roughly from the walkway directly in front of the Sanctuary doors all the way east to Orianna Street. That space allows 30 minute parking and should provide room to drop off anyone for whom walking too far is a problem. 

~ We have relaxed parking (with the newly updated placard on your dashboard) on the east side of 4th Street from New Street north of Race all the way down to Arch Street and on the south side of Race Street from 4th to 3rd (minus our loading zone). People have noted that there is now parking on the east side of 4th Street north of the intersection with Race. That is not included in our relaxed parking. And yes, it means when we have relaxed parking on the other side of the street, there is just a single lane for traffic. 

We actually believe that with the smaller crowds at post-pandemic worship at Old First, St. Augustine’s and St. George’s, that might be closer to sufficient than we had foreseen. Please let Michael or Devan know how this is working out – if you can find a place there, or if you need to go searching elsewhere. 

~ We are planning to reserve the first relaxed parking places along 4th south of Race, immediately adjacent to our property for people for whom walking distances is a challenge. That means, even if you are early, if walking is not a problem for you, please park either north of Race Street or pull on down south of our property so that people with mobility issues can use the nearest spots. 

~  We have talked about offering valet parking. This would promise someone waiting at the loading zone to take your car and find parking for you. Insurance requires us to find people for this ministry who are at least 26 years old and have no criminal record. We would need to offer valet parking from about 10:30 to 11:10, and then bring back the cars that were parked after worship. If you are interested in this ministry, or know of someone who might be, please speak to the pastor. 

~ Someone asked about the parking places that used to be along the north side of Race Street between 5th and 4th Street. So Michael checked: the signs now read “No Parking Anytime” so they have been eliminated.

~ We have begun speaking about gathering a list of nearby parking garages as well. 

2. We are aware that there are plants we might want to move as they will be overrun by construction. Primarily, it’s hosta, but if there is some other plant you have always coveted… Essentially, everything on the west side of the property will be lost to construction, and all the plantings right along the front of the church building too. If you are interested in hosta or any other planting – shrub, bush or tree – do not be shy. We’d love to adopt out these plants. Please speak to Michael or Nancy. 

3. There are a lot of bricks and / or belgian blocks that are on the site where the construction will take place. Michael was thinking about keeping all the bricks in the parking lot in front of the CE building, but Janice is rightfully asking  what we might ever need them for. Also, it seems they need to be lifted out of place by hand. 

Alicia and Michael have begun a discussion about giving them away if people would come help with the sweat equity of “harvesting” them. Alicia can see an Old First brick patio in her backyard. Do you need pavers enough that you’d help us move them?

4. Is there anything else in the CE or Fox buildings that you have always wanted? Really, now is the time to ask… 

On other news, Michael and Devan are trying to spend about an hour a day in the Fox and the CE buildings sorting the last odds and ends. They are making two piles – one that is trash and one that is stuff that needs to find at least interim storage. Once they get through all the spaces, they may need a “clean up day” to help us get the trash emptied out before we turn over the buildings for moving and demolition. 

Also, the company that just a few years ago installed the new boiler system in the Fox Building will remove it and keep it in their storage facility until they come upon a customer in need of a new boiler whose financial hardship makes it impossible to buy.