Rick Marsi / Correspondent photos
Family Life Ministries, a Bath-based Christian organization that operates a radio network and a multitude of community programs, plans to move its headquarters to the Corning area.
The move, when complete, is expected to create dozens of new jobs.
Family Life Ministries, which currently operates out of a facility at 7634 Campbell Creek Road in the Town of Bath, purchased the former Harley-Davidson dealership in Gang Mills in the Town of Erwin and plans to totally remodel and expand the building.
Family Life Ministries was found in 1957 by Dick Snavely, and has spent the last 51 years in its current facility, according to Dick’s son Rick Snavely, who is now CEO of the organization.
Despite numerous expansions over the years, the old building has outlived its usefulness, Rick Snavely said.
“We added on five times. We’re in a flood plain so we can’t add on any more,” he said. “We can’t get enough electricity to do what we need. For the last number of years we looked around at possibilities. We bought some land near where we are located. Our architects started working on stuff. To get utilities would be so costly. They said ‘Can you look somewhere else?'”
In 2008, Family Life Ministries looked at the former P&C supermarket building in Gang Mills, which was built in 2002, but the asking price — nearly $3 million — was too steep. The Corning Harding Harley-Davidson dealership eventually occupied that space and changed its name to American Twin.
But the owners consolidated that business with a Binghamton Harley dealership a few years ago, and the Gang Mills building became available again.
Snavely was interested, and said the owners approached him in 2016 about selling the building for $1.4 million — half the previous asking price — if they could raise the money by the end of the year.
It would take a miracle for Family Life Ministries to raise that much money in such a short period of time, Snavely said.
Fortunately, he said, God is in the miracle business.
“We had a generous couple commit $500,000 as a matching gift. So when I came down off Cloud 9, I realized if we match the $500,000, we’re still $400,000 shy,” Snavely said. “From Dec. 1, 2016 to the end of December, parishioners contributed $1 million. We paid cash for the building. Only God could have orchestrated that.”
Now Family Life Ministries is gearing up to launch a capital campaign to raise funds needed to totally remodel the existing building.
Once that work is complete, Family Life Ministries will move its entire operation to its new home and add additional programming.
“This building would house our headquarters, allow us to expand our center for the arts, do a lot of music, drama, dance teaching, and our biblical counseling center,” Snavely said. “There will be more space to open up small groups and house all our radio studios and production studios. That’s the first stage. The second is building a new performing arts center. That would seat 1,900 people or so.”
Family Life Ministries is currently going through the regulatory approval process for the new performing arts center.
If all goes as planned, the organization should be able to move into the Gang Mills facility in 2020, and bring a lot of jobs to the area in the process.
“We have to raise a lot of money in between. If I could say ‘Lord get us in there next year,’ I would love that,” Snavely said. “Once we get that done and have it all paid for, we’ll look at the second phase. We have about 52 people on staff. As we look at all the things the new facility will allow us to do, we can easily see that staff doubling.”
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- For more information about Family Life Ministries, go to fln.org.
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