Couple buys St. Anthony’s church

JOHNSTOWN -The Albany Roman Catholic Diocese’s former St. Anthony’s Church buildings on Nicholas Street were sold Tuesday for $75,000 to a Gloversville couple, who will start a new ministry.

The buyers are Douglas Blanc and his wife, Sally, of Fifth Avenue. The Blancs want to turn the 22,000 square feet of property – a former church and hall – into a non-denominational Christian outreach and family center. It will be called the Foothills Christian Life Center.

The center will be a ministry that will service the residents of Johnstown and Gloversville.

The final sale was negotiated Tuesday by Coldwell Banker Arlene M. Sitterly Inc. of Johnstown.

“It’s a done deal,” Coldwell Banker associate Bradley Yerdon, who brokered the sale, said Wednesday. “I’m just thrilled that’s going to be used again. Its been vacant for three or four years now. Doug and his church will be community oriented.”

Diocese Director of Communications Kenneth Goldfarb would only confirm this week, “We are awaiting a closing date on that property.”

Douglas Blanc was out of the country this week on a mission trip to Eastern Europe. But Sally Blanc said Wednesday that she and her husband are thrilled about this opportunity to start their ministry at the former church.

“We are very excited,” she said.

Sally Blanc said right now the couple is concentrating on cleaning and doing some maintenance on the buildings before they can be opened to the public.

Douglas Blanc said in December, after he worked out a proposed contract with the diocese, that he had a “desire to incorporate the community into this project.”

“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 High 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.”

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 2013 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.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.