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City Council accepts $100,000 Gift for Stockert Youth & Community Center; Moves to purchase Citizen’s Bank property to expand Jawbone Park Greenspace


March 5, 2020

          Good evening ladies & gentlemen.  As you all know, we re-launched our Stockert capital campaign in December of 2017.  At that time, our City had about $149,000 toward building expansion here.  Since jump-starting that campaign, we have amassed nearly $340,000, or another $190,000+.  We are thankful for the gifts of the Jenkins family & Jenkins Ford ($25,000) the Minsker family & Buckhannon Toyota ($20,000), Weyerhaeuser ($15,000), Tim Critchfield & High Point Construction ($11,000), Mike Ross ($10,000), and a host of other gracious donors including many people in this room.  Council member Dave Thomas also has pledged $12,000 toward our new building.

          In April of 2018, the SYCC Board recommended & our Council adopted a donor model that would authorize naming rights of our new building- the fill-in-the-blank Arena at Stockert Youth & Community Center.  Acquisition of naming rights required a gift of $100,000.  The largest gift ever received by our City has been the $25,000 gift of the Jenkins family & Jenkins Ford made just last year toward our Stockert capital campaign.  We’ve been courting several people & enterprises in hopes of selling our naming rights.  I am pleased to report this evening, that subject to City Council’s formal acceptance & as part of a larger transaction, i.e., the City’s purchase of the Citizens’ Bank’s drive-thru property fronting on Madison Street- Citizens’ Bank will gift our SYCC campaign with $100,000 to take our capital campaign to nearly $440,000.   Citizens’ CEO, Nathaniel Bonnell, & the Citizens’ board of directors are friends of Buckhannon & support our SYCC programs & facilities.

          As we await word nearly any day now on our Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grant application filed last summer seeking $3.8 million for Stockert & river trail expansion, this gift will only help with that application as Buckhannon further establishes its strong ownership in & support for this facility.  Needless to say, this is a monumental moment in the nearly 26-year history of the Stockert programs.  I remind you that Mrs.  Joyce Stockert died on March 16, 1994, and we can only imagine how very pleased she would be about the work going on within this facility, including our plans to grow this facility & our excellent Stockert programs.  We are averaging 13,000+ youth hours monthly, and another 1,000 hours of volunteer service time monthly.  This facility enjoys nearly universal support of our B-U community.

          As for the property along Madison Street, this real estate, exceeding an acre, is situated immediately across Madison Street from our Jawbone Park.  This property if acquired by our City would yield enormous benefits to Park attendees.  Dozens of new parking spaces would be realized, additional landscaping, public art, & utilitarian space involving the building located in the middle of this property- would greatly enhance events at Jawbone, our public safety complex, & our Stockert facility.  We are reminded that the City owns the large lot located immediately adjacent to & just to the west of this lot.  I think Citizens’ Arena at SYCC has a really cool ring to it.

          I would first call upon Jerry Arnold & Jay Hollen to walk us through some of the particulars regarding the potential development of this exciting opportunity. 

(Jerry Arnold, Public Works Director, and Jay Hollen, City Engineer, reported.)

          Next, I’d call upon Amby Jenkins to discuss models for our City’s payment of this property. 

(Amby Jenkins, Director of Finance, reported.)

          Finally, & before we hear from guests & ultimately from the members of our City Council- I’d ask City Attorney, Tom O’Neill, to help us understand the steps we need to take to be legally compliant with the Citizens’ Bank matters.

(City Attorney Tom O’Neill reported on legal aspect of acquisition.)

    City Council voted to approve property acquisition and acceptance of gift for Stockert Youth & Community Center.

      MOTION CARRIED, 5-1.

From the City Council Minutes for March 5, 2020:

Motion to approve F.5 – 15 Madison St Property 1.03 Acres, from Citizen’s Bank, Authorizing Execution of Purchase Agreement was madeby Sanders/Rylands.  Discussion took place with comments from each Council Member.  Council Member Skinner and Council Member Bucklew both expressed their strong support for the SYCC but also expressed various concerns regarding the purchase of the property.  City Recorder Sanders, Council Members Rylands, Thomas and Albaugh were all in favor of the purchase and the agreement for the donation for SYCC, and each gave their reasons for support.  The Mayor called for the question with the members voting as follows:  Albaugh – Yes; Skinner – No; Sanders – Yes; Rylands – Yes; Bucklew – Abstained; Thomas – Yes; McCauley – Yes.  Motion carried.