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Turin community center eyeing Easter opening

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TURIN — The first phase of a planned community center here is nearing completion, with the intent to open with an Easter Sunday worship service.

“We don’t anticipate having any trouble being ready for that day,” the Rev. Brian D. Siegrist, pastor of the group building the Christian Community Center, said of the proposed March 31 opening.

The 9,500-square-foot center since July has been under construction directly across from the South Lewis middle-high school building on East Road in the town of Turin.

It features a 4,100-square-foot building, including a kitchen and a couple of classrooms, and an attached 5,400-square-foot gymnasium.

“The facility could be used by all kinds of groups, I think,” the Rev. Mr. Siegrist said.

The 35-person Christian Community Center congregation for the past several years has been holding Sunday services at the Alpine Restaurant in Constableville while working to construct a new building that could meet the needs of both its members and the southern Lewis County community, he said.

While the building will be utilized for weekly worship services, the intent is to construct “something that blesses the greater community” by providing more activities for area youth and families, as well as an additional venue to hold weddings, funerals or other community gatherings, the Rev. Mr. Siegrist said.

“It’s about a safe place for families, for kids,” he said.

“We don’t want it to just sit here,” added group member Moses M. Beiler.

Plans are to initially use the main building for services, then eventually move them to the gymnasium when that part of the project is completed.

The gym section is to feature a regulation-size volleyball court. Basketball hoops will also be added, although an official court is not planned.

Group members have also discussed outdoor additions like a playground, volleyball court, athletic fields and even a cross country ski trail on their 25-acre property, which includes an 8-acre wooded portion.

The Rev. Mr. Siegrist said they would also welcome suggestions from members of the community and other area churches on events that could be held at the center, particularly ones designed to encourage and strengthen families. Anyone with ideas is encouraged to contact him at 771-7968.

The group purchased the property from Diane Gaylord in 2010, shortly after South Lewis residents narrowly rejected a plan to buy the land for future field space in case an elementary consolidation project here was ever undertaken.

Mr. Beiler said group members had some discussions with district officials before deciding where on the property to site the center. They hope to continue working with the school to coordinate activities and would be open to discussions on a future project, if the need were to arise and district residents supported the plan, he said.

Volunteer labor has helped to keep costs down, the Rev. Mr. Siegrist said.

Fundraisers — including an ongoing scrap metal drive, the rehabilitation and sale of a Lowville home that had fire damage and sale of corn grown on the property — have covered a significant portion of the project and should help keep the mortgage “manageable,” he said.

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