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. ••