Friday, March 25, 2011

TOP STORY > >Church plans to buy Bancroft

Leader staff writer

The old Bancroft Cap Com-pany in Cabot, closed since December 2006, may not find new life as an indoor shooting range as expected. Instead, it could become the new home of New Life Pentecostal Church.

The ordinance to allow indoor shooting ranges is supposed to be ready for approval by the city council’s police and fire committee Monday, which would make it ready for approval by the full council in April.

Contacted Thursday, Alder-man Rick Prentice, committee chairman, said he hadn’t heard about the church’s plan to buy the property.

The price of the building was originally set at $1.4 million according to real estate websites. Then it dropped to $539,000.

But recently, the price dropped to $299,000 and New Life Pentecostal Church agreed to buy it. That price could not be found online. Contacted Thurs-day, Ted Arnett, of Arnett Realty and Investments, said the church found out about the lower price before it was actually public.

Although the church agreed to pay the full asking price, Arnett said the property is still on the market. The purchase price was only part of the sale, he said. The owner didn’t agree to the other terms the church offered and the church didn’t agree to the owner’s counter offer.

Tim Gaddy, pastor of New Life Pentecostal Church, said the only real holdup to the purchase is that local banks want the prop erty tested for chemicals before they commit funds.

The testing should start Monday or Tuesday and be completed within two weeks, Gaddy said.

Although it looks like a factory now, Gaddy said the property is everything the 12-year-old church needs.

With almost 56,000 square feet under one roof, it could be remodeled into a sanctuary, Sunday school rooms and gymnasium, and still have room for Hope’s Closet, one of the church’s ministries.

The factory is located on 7.2 acres which would give room for the church to expand even more, he said.

The church was originally expected to approve the purchase during a business meeting on Monday, March 28. But Gaddy said that approval will have to wait until the testing is completed.

Bancroft Cap Company opened in Cabot in 1967. When it filed bankruptcy on Jan. 16, 2007, it was the only company under contract with the Department of Defense to supply black berets to Army and Air Force personnel.

By federal law, the clothing worn by military personnel must contain only American-produced components. The financial problems that led to the factory closing stemmed from allegations that some of the berets contained foreign materials. The DOD refused to pay for some of the berets that were shipped and demanded repayment for others.

The fire and police committee discussed amending the city’s firearm ordinance last year to allow for indoor shooting ranges but took no action.

Discussion started again in January when it became clear that someone was eyeing the Bancroft building.

Prentice recommended special meetings to have the ordinance passed by February, but after further discussion, it was decided that all the prospective new business owners needed was assurance that the ordinance would be changed to accommodate an indoor shooting range.

Earlier this month, the council’s public-works committee heard from city planner Jim Von Tungeln, who told them they shouldn’t rezone the property commercial to allow the shooting range. Leave it industrial and give the shooting range a special-use permit, he said, because industry doesn’t like to locate next door to commercial.

Bancroft is located at 1122 S. Second St.