The Center for the Arts of Homer signed an agreement to buy the Little White Church Community Center (LWCCC) from the Village of Homer for $1 at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting.
The purchase is part of the Center for the Arts’ plan to refurbish the property and return it to public use. The Center for the Arts will also oversee programming and scheduling for the property once the rehabilitation is completed.
Part of the Center’s mission will be to keep the Little White Church as a creative community center. The village, Homer Central School District (HCSD) and village nonprofits will be given priority when it comes to booking, according to a public memo. Village-based nonprofits will be given priority during a pre-booking period each November, while private for-profit clubs will receive priority every December.
Both the village government and the school district will have access to the facility for free to host public meetings. Dates can only be booked after village-based organizations have had their opportunity following the previously mentioned months. The center will develop a rental fee schedule based on the scope of each event.
The Center for the Arts also plans to have an advisory council that will include a member from the village, the Landmark Society of Cortland, and the Center for the Arts. The council’s mission is to ensure that programming serves the public benefit, according to the memo.
Village Mayor Hal McCabe said the deal had been in the works for months.
“We came up with a really good plan,” he said, “We are still talking about a new name.” McCabe said the community should have input on the name of the new project.
McCabe praised the Center for the Arts for their track record in the community.
“They have the capacity, volunteers, and established relationships with contractors,” he said. “It makes sense.”
Deputy mayor Pat Clune said the decision is the way forward.
“We are all keeping our eyes on the prize of restoring and saving the structure,” he said. “Right now we think this is the best way to do that.”
Ty Marshal, executive director of the Center for the Arts of Homer, was present at the meeting. He noted the rehabilitation process of the LWCCC could take 3-to-5 years to complete.
“We are honored,” he said. “We know there is a lot of work ahead of us.”