Can Rescue Community Hall be saved?

Published 11:41 am Wednesday, November 8, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Residents met Monday night to discuss the future of the Rescue community hall, and while several ideas were raised, an inspection and feasibility study appeared to be the most agreeable next step.

And Newport District Supervisor William McCarty, who suggested the inspection, offered to pay for it.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

McCarty proposed having an inspection done to see what repairs are needed and projected expense, as well as having the trustees provide an idea of how much it would cost to maintain and operate the facility once the repairs are made. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“So people understand exactly what they’re looking at,” McCarty said, adding that the report could accompany a petition proposed by the Rev. E.J. Herzog of the Rescue Evangelical Friends Church.

Herzog wants to circulate a petition asking residents what they want from the building, which for years has been a rentable space for personal, church and community events.

The owners of the building, the Rescue Community League, recently decided to sell the building after the Rescue/Battery Park Ruritan Club announced it was dissolving and the upkeep of the aging building was beyond the capabilities of the five Community League trustees, said Trustee Marcie Spoonhoward at a meeting Monday of the Carrollton Civic League.

About 35 people attended the meeting, some in favor of saving the building, while others appeared more ambivalent.

Spoonhoward said the building is not on the market yet, and if sold, the proceeds would go to the Rescue waterworks.

Parker Scott, who is on the waterworks board, said the system is holding its own right now, but if major repairs were needed, the board would have to go to its customers to cover the cost.

Spoonhoward and other Rescue residents cited problems with the building, such as a leaking roof, sagging floors, inoperable kitchen appliances and other problems.

“The building is falling apart,” said Spoonhoward.

Spoonhoward said the Rescue Community League put flyers in mailboxes for events, but turnout and support had dwindled to just a handful in recent years.

Brenda Gillihan said the League tried asking for dues in the past, but that effort was resisted.

Ideas for the future use of the building included a foodbank or senior center, but others pointed out that those uses don’t generate revenue and the utility bills have to be paid.

William Carter, who is credited with being the oldest Rescue resident, said the community used to be a close-knit fishing and farming village, but now everyone is going every which way.

“It’s gone. The community is not a community anymore,” he said.

Carrollton Civic League President Albert Burckard disagreed.

It is a community, that’s why people are here, he said.

“You all express an interest in the Rescue community,” Burckard said.

Spoonhoward said she would take the ideas presented at the meeting back to the Rescue Community League Board.  {/mprestriction}