Out of the ruins, a church rises

AMSTERDAM — Ten years after Crossroads Community Church was founded, the religious group has gone from meeting at the former Crystal Bar and Restaurant to nearly completing a $300,000 rehabilitation of the old Amsterdam YMCA building.

Pastor Scott Baldwin said his church was “planted” by Temple Baptist Church, located in Halfmoon, in 2007 and using about $125,000 in funding, it purchased the three-story 40,000-square-foot former Amsterdam YMCA building at 24 Division St.

“We’ve done a lot of upgrades. When we bought the building, it had no running water, no heat, limited electricity, so it was a lot of fun to be honest with you,” Baldwin said. “The YMCA, I believe, left in 2004 and then it was purchased [by the previous owner], and during that time period they hadn’t maintained all of the furnaces for the system, and without the heat, the waterlines all break and freeze.”

Baldwin said his church has been holding its services in the gymnasium of the YMCA building for years, but has been running out of room. He said in 2011 the church expanded to include 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services. He said Crossroads Community Church recruited the efforts of an architect who created plans for transforming the YMCA into a fully-functional church.

“We realized after that if we continued to grow that we would need a larger space, so there’s a pool on the west end of the building that was larger than the auditorium or the gymnasium that we’re currently in, so we contacted an architect named Bill Cooper, who passed away a few years ago. Bill did all of the architectural work to be able to put a [floor over] this pool,” he said. “He estimated this would take about $300,000 and he was right, we’ve spent about $220,000 and we’ve got about $80,000 to go. This was one of the last projects he ever did.”

So far, the church renovations have included the concrete-cutting necessary to build the rooms over the pool, increase handicap accessibility and do all of the structural repairs and installing heating systems. The last $80,000 worth of renovations is expected to include sheetrock, finished electrical work and the flooring and lighting.

“We’re working on tithes and offerings, we haven’t borrowed any money for this project. As the money comes in, we spend it,” he said. “Our goal has been for 2017, and originally we hoped to be in by Easter, but I don’t know if we’re going to make that because it’s only six or seven weeks away, so it’s probably going to be a little bit further out than that, but we hope to be done by the end of 2017.”

The church is conducing a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on March 19 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Baldwin said they hope to sell 400 tickets at $12 a piece to support the project. Tickets for children 12 and younger will be sold for $10.

“If we don’t make it for our 10th anniversary in there, it’s OK — because most of the labor, almost all of it, is volunteer and most of the money is being raised in-house,” he said.

Baldwin said another benefit of the renovation will be getting back use of the building’s gymnasium for use as a gymnasium.

“The gymnasium we are now using [for church services], we’ll be able to use that. That’s been a huge piece of our focus, is we have a growing children and youth ministry and we’re outward focused, so not only would we like to have a gymnasium for our kids and youth, we’d like to be able to open it up at least once a month for people to come in and use our gymnasium,” he said. “As soon as we get this done, we get a gym for free in essence. We’ll be able to open it up and use it for its intended purpose.”

By Patricia Older

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