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Otterbein buys land in Pa. for new church

April 11, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

One of the bigger land sales in the borough of Waynesboro, 60 acres of farmland on Welty Road that sold for $1.2 million, one day will become home to a new Otterbein United Brethren Church of Christ.

The Rev. Michael Newman, pastor of the 800-member church, said the congregation is outgrowing its current location at 801 Park St.

The church's Leadership Oversight Team decided to buy the land now, although any planning for a new church building won't be considered for a few years, Newman said.

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"We don't anticipate doing anything until November 2006," Newman said. The farmland will be rented to a local farmer in the meantime, he said.

The land transaction was filed Thursday with the Franklin County Register and Recorder's Office in Chambersburg, Pa., said Ronnie Martin, the local real estate agent who handled the sale. He said negotiations were completed over a nine-month span.

The land the church bought once was part of the Hollengreen family farm. Another 110 acres of the farm was sold to Brim Builders Inc. of Chambersburg, Martin said.

The company has filed preliminary plans with the borough to build a major housing development of around 880 units.

The tract bought by Otterbein is bordered by the east branch of Antietam Creek, Welty Road and Renfrew Museum and Park, Martin said.

A private home that is surrounded by the church's new land is not affected by the sale, he said.

Waynesboro Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said the transaction was one of the largest land deals in the borough. It should bring in about $6,000 in real estate transfer taxes.

Newman said Otterbein United Brethren Church of Christ was founded in 1901. Services during the church's early years were in a small building at the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and Third Street. The building later became an apartment house.

The congregation moved to its current location in 1958, and a major addition was added in 1969.

The church bought the former Keystone Ford dealership next door on the South Potomac Street side to house its 30,000-square-foot Otterbein Ministry Center.

The Waynesboro Senior Center leases its rooms from the church.

Newman said his congregation is growing.

Newman said he is adding a fourth Easter Sunday service to handle a crowd of worshippers expected to be close to 1,200.

The church operates with a full-time staff of eight, including three pastors, a music director, a youth pastor and office employees.

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