The feel of small town America is still strong here.
Mayor Wanda Rogers, City Clerk Tracie Durrence, and council members Shawn Edwards, Tonya Edwards, and Emily Callaway assembled at the town Community Center Saturday morning to put some finishing touches on a building that has long been a work in progress.
The elected officials and residents of the small town worked to spruce up the bathroom in the building and ensure it is ADA compliant, upgraded some of the fixtures, and slapped on a few coats of paints to beautify the center which sits next door to City Hall on Henry Street.
The building was previously a Methodist church, constructed back to the 1800s, but over recent years, the congregation dwindled, services stopped, and residents of the town worried the building would deteriorate. Mayor Rogers said Saturday that, without any other willing buyers, the town began the process of purchasing it. Whenever a building serving as a church becomes dormant, it is necessary for the United Methodist Conference to research and ensure no original donors are interested in purchasing the building before it is available for purchase by any other entity. While a few members of the church were stilling living, none had any desire to purchase the church.
After an extensive background investigation on the church history, the building was eligible for purchase by the city. Several of the pews were given to family members of former church goers and the rest were given to other churches in Tattnall County. The sentimental items were returned to the United Methodist Conference to be placed in a museum.
The town plans to sell a few of the appliances from the kitchen inside, such as the stove and the heater, and other remaining items such as the podiums. The only work remaining is a coat of paint on the bathroom floor and a nice scrub down. Officials also plan to purchase a sign to identify the building.
The 1,400 square-foot building features a kitchen with an adjoining room often used or dining, and a large social hall.
Anyone in the community is welcome to use the building, for a fee, and Councilwoman Tonya Edwards said that there are already several requests to rent the building for upcoming events. The City will make good use of it as well. For the last three years, Manassas has hosted elected officials from other municipalities in Tattnall County for supper as part of the Tattnall Municipal Association.
Councilwoman Edwards said, “It’s small, but we are proud of it.”