JOHNSTOWN - A Gloversville couple is trying to buy the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese's former St. Anthony's Church buildings on Nicholas Street and turn them into a "community family life center."
"We have a contract to sell that property," diocese Director of Communications Kenneth Goldfarb said.
Goldfarb wouldn't release any details about the agreement involving the 9 Nicholas St. church until the sale is final.
But the proposed buyer - Douglas Blanc and his wife, Sally, of Fifth Avenue - said they made the offer. Blanc wants to turn the 22,000 square feet of property - a former church and hall - into a non-denominational "Christian outreach and family center" called the Foothills Christian Life Center.
Real-estate agent Brad Yerdon of Coldwell Banker Arlene M. Sitterly in Johnstown, which is handling the deal, said he has been to the property several times with Blanc. Yerdon said the former Catholic church is a "beautiful building" with "a lot of history."
"We have a real desire to incorporate the community into this project," Blanc said.
Blanc, the former pastor of the Broadalbin Baptist Church, said the Foothills Christian Life Center is a newly formed nonprofit corporation. He said the center would operate under the direction of the Blancs as a "community family life center that will service the residents of Johnstown and Gloversville."
"The Foothills Christian Life Center will be a non-denominational and community-driven outreach center," a news release from Blanc said. "We welcome the input of area residents to ensure that our programs will give meaningful help and lasting hope. There will be a public forum in the coming months to provide information about the center and also to get essential feedback from area residents."
The release added, "Doug and Sally Blanc are 1978 graduates of Broadalbin Central School and longtime area residents. The couple has been in pastoral ministry for more than 25 years. Doug and Sally are joined by a team of dedicated associates and are looking forward to building a network of lasting relationships throughout the community."
More about the Blancs' plans and ministry can be found online at newlifebiblefellowship.weebly.com.
Goldfarb, Black and Yerdon declined to say the sale price until the sale is finalized.
"We anticipate everything is pushing toward closing soon," Blanc said. "The [Albany Catholic] diocese has been very, very favorable to us."
Johnstown's Catholic churches have gone through changes in recent years.
In 2009, Holy Trinity Church in Johnstown was formed from the consolidation of Immaculate Conception, St. Anthony's Church and St. Patrick's Church. That move came in response to changing demographics, declining church revenues and a decline in the number of priests available, diocese officials said at the time.
The former St. Patrick's Church on Glebe Street was subsequently renamed Holy Trinity Church and serves as the primary Catholic church in Johnstown.
The Johnstown City Planning Board in June approved the former Immaculate Conception Church on Cayadutta Street being used as a site for airplane upholstery repair. Lake George-based ReadyJet Technical Services plans to take over the former church building, its church hall and the rectory on Warren Street.