Northeast Times

Church seeks property developer

The reas­on the Po­lice Ath­let­ic League is look­ing for a new home for its Gib­bons cen­ter at 6901 Rising Sun is that the church that owns the build­ing can’t af­ford to keep it.

Main­ten­ance costs are so high, said Fath­er Richard Robyn, pas­tor of Trin­ity Church Ox­ford, that keep­ing the build­ings on the west end of its prop­erty would fin­an­cially over­whelm the more than 300-year-old Epis­copal par­ish in a dec­ade.

“We would be in jeop­ardy of clos­ing,” Robyn said.

The prop­erty needs to be de­veloped, Robyn said in a June 17 in­ter­view along with Lor­ie Henry, the par­ish re­cords warden. Trin­ity wants to con­tin­ue to own the land, he said, but the church wants a long-term ten­ant that would raze the cur­rent struc­tures and build something on the grounds and main­tain it.

Henry said the rents paid by PAL and the Ox­ford Child Care Cen­ter, an­oth­er long­time ten­ant, already are high. But the in­come, Robyn said, isn’t enough to pay for the prop­erty’s up­keep.

Ini­tially, the par­ish was ex­plor­ing the idea of leas­ing the ground for a seni­or cit­izen apart­ment build­ing, but Robyn said there already are sim­il­ar fa­cil­it­ies close to the site, so the mar­ket really isn’t right to pur­sue that course.

Robyn said Gib­bons PAL, which had been on the par­ish prop­erty since 1969, and the day care cen­ter were told they would have to va­cate by the end of the year. However, since the seni­or cit­izen fa­cil­ity idea was aban­doned, they have been giv­en an­oth­er six months to stay on and look for new sites.

Now Trin­ity is op­er­at­ing on its Plan B, the pas­tor said, look­ing for a sol­id com­mer­cial ten­ant that would help the cen­tur­ies-old par­ish con­tin­ue and also be­ne­fit the com­munity. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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