Interest in the old gym

Published 9:25 am Wednesday, September 13, 2017

We share the interest of the Kenbridge Town Council in what could be offered to the community through purchase of the old gymnasium in town.

The property, located at 533 E. 5th Ave., is the former site of the Kenbridge High School gymnasium.

While council members have understandable excitement regarding the potential of the building, they should also proceed with caution, for, as Town Attorney Calvin Spencer noted, the building’s use could have an impact on the town.

“The use that that facility goes to is very important to the long-term plan of the town,” Spencer said.

According to Kenbridge bidder Bettye Langley-Lyles, she’d like to see the building be used as a drive-in movie theater, also offering space as a central area for sporting events, family gatherings and meetings.

Langley-Lyles, according to information presented during the council’s August meeting, offered a $100,000 bid for the building. The payment would be under a lease-purchase agreement with incremental quarterly payments of $2,500.

Developer Stephen Israel, of Kenbridge, is the only other bidder for the property, offering $5,000 for the property, and made his pitch for use of the building during a closed session with members of the council.

While we, along with Mayor Emory Hodges, understand and respect the request for confidentiality in business transactions, it’s our hope that the public will be able to learn of the potential use of the building before the building is leased or sold.

Whether it’s a business venture that will employ members of our community, growing the town and county’s tax base, or a community space that could offer after-school opportunities for enrichment and other activities for our youth, we encourage members of the town council to choose the most advantageous use of the building that will benefit the town and enhance the lives of those who live here.