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Beginning of the Dream

July 2017

The idea for a Community Center in the former St. Joseph's Church began when the Bellmont Town Board voted 4-0, with one member absent, to work with St. Andre Bessette Parish in Malone, the owner of the structure, to purchase the property.  That vote was later challenged by the absent member and eventually rescinded.

 

2018 - 2021  

The Town of Bellmont’s Planning Committee, in a series of reports to the Board, kept reminding Board members of the desire and need for a community center in the "southern" part of the Town.  In 2020 and 2021, the Planning Committee developed petitions to determine community-wide support for such a center.  More than 200 signatures, from permanent and seasonal residents, were obtained on petitions over the two-year period and the petitions were presented to the Town Board.

Summer 2020

Professional architectural and engineering firms, at the request of the Town Supervisor, inspected the former church building and found it to be a solid and sound structure.  Their reports stated minor "problems,"  because the building had not been used for about 15 years, were determined to be easily corrected.

September 2020

The Planning Committee continued to support calls for purchase of the 1.72-acre property and the former church for conversion into a community center.  Late in August, some residents were informed by the Town that if the property were, in fact acquired by the Town, it could only be used for official Town of Bellmont-sanctioned activities because of insurance liability issues. For that reason, in September 2020, an ad hoc community group conducted a public brainstorming session and developed a report, presented to the Town Board, that clearly stated taxpayers' expectations of broader specific and potential uses for that the facility and the imperative of the accessible  four-season, multi-use center so critically needed by members of the Owls Head Mountain View Community.

Spring 2021

The Town Supervisor asked the Planning Committee to develop a use plan in anticipation of a potential center.  A task force was formed and held several meetings to develop a needs assessment that would lead to a professional space-use study while the Town Supervisor pursued funding opportunities.

July 19, 2021 

The Town Board, meeting at the Owls Head - Mountain View Fire Station, unanimously approved a resolution to purchase the property and to form a special district to purchase the property for a community center.  According to the resolution, the town would lend $100,000 to the district to be paid back in installments of $20,000 a year over five years.  However, according to the Town’s attorney, prevailing New York State town laws made it impossible for the Town to create such a district.  Other financing options were explored, but none of them would have satisfied state regulations. 

September 2, 2021

Building Acquisition Task Force Meeting participants reviewed and assessed Core Functions and Other Considerations spread sheets, to present to the Board meeting scheduled for 09/23/2021

 

September 14, 2021

Town of Bellmont Supervisor Bruce Russell announced in an email  that the Town would no longer pursue potential purchase of the property because of restrictions/limitations to financing purchase and bond through the Town

The July 2021 resolution was rescinded and property owner St. Andre Bessette Parish was notified.

 

Week of September 21, 2021

Proponents of the Community Center learned "through the grapevine" that St. Andre Bessette Parish intended to put out a For Sale sign in the next few days. That news was the catalyst for the initiative that resulted in Owls Head Mountain View Community Connection. They agreed that a Center owned and operated by an independent not-for-profit entity would be more favorable for community needs and desires than a government-owned facility, which would involve multiple restrictions and requirements for permissions. Mountain View Community Connection, Inc. Representatives then met with Parish leaders and shared our community's commitment to make the dream of our community center a reality.

The Result: 

The creation of Owls Head Mountain View Community Connection,Inc! Leaders of the Parish continue to be willing, supportive partners as we move forward.

Text provided by David Stewart, member of the Town of Bellmont's Planning Committee, Building Acquisition Task Force

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518-483-7154

 

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