District election set to sell Jansen

JOHNSTOWN — The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education on Thursday set a special district election for Aug. 25 to sell the former Jansen Avenue Elementary School building to the Foothills United Methodist Church.

The board in June approved a contract to sell the 305 Jansen Ave. building to the Gloversville church, but the $695,00 deal isn’t final until approved by district voters.

A proposition will be on a special ballot from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 25 in the Johnstown Junior-Senior High School auditorium lobby on whether to approve the sale of the 31,000-square-foot building.

The board voted Thursday night at the Knox Building to conduct the special election. Board members also decided to issued a negative declaration under the state Environmental Quality Review process. The declaration means the proposed action won’t significantly impact the environment.

The Johnstown school system closed the former Jansen Avenue Elementary School on June 30, 2009 due to declining enrollment and financial reasons, Since then, the district had tried to sell it for several years, but to no avail. HFM BOCES had used the building for its P-TECH program for several years.

But Foothills United Methodist Church at 17 Fremont St. is looking for a new church space.

In 2005, the congregations of Fremont Street United Methodist Church (currently the Foothills building), the United Methodist Church of Gloversville and the First United Methodist Church in Johnstown were combined. A covenant was made to build a new church.

A new church was started with construction off Route 30A and Kingsboro Avenue is located, next to the current Burger King restaurant. But the project suffered a combination of unfortunate issues such as funds becoming low, the death of former Pastor Wayne Jones, and eventually the COVID-19 pandemic. At one point, the proposed project ballooned to $10 million.

Now, the shell of that Route 30A structure is up for sale.

The plan now is to close the church building on Fremont Street and have the congregation worship at the Jansen building.

Other propositions approved by the Board of Education Thursday night that will be on the Aug. 25 ballots includes ones involving:

∫ Construction Capital Reserve Fund – authorizing the Board of Education o create a Construction Capital Reserve Fund for the purpose of financing the construction of, and general improvements, reconstruction, renovations or additions to, the district’s buildings, grounds, and athletic fields, including site work and the acquisition of original furnishings, equipment, machinery or apparatus required for the purpose for which such buildings are to be used. The amount of such fund will be $3 million annually deposited into the fund, The probable duration of the fund is 10 years.

∫ Capital (bus purchase) Reserve Fund – authorizing the Board of Education to establish a reserve fund to be known as the Capital (bus purchase) Reserve Fund effective Sept. 1, 2021, the purpose of which is to finance the cost of acquisition of school buses and vehicles in future years; and commencing with the 2021-22 school year and in each of the next nine fiscal years, deposit into the Bus Purchase Reserve Fund the amount received from the state as transportation aid and such portion of the unallocated fund balance as determined by the Board of Education. The ultimate amount of the fund is $3 million. The probable duration of the fund is 10 years.

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