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Vermont church to turn elks lodge into community center

February 9, 2020 GMT

HARTFORD, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont church is planning to convert a former Elks Lodge in the town of Hartford into a community center.

The Valley News reports Praise Chapel, which bought the building in December, announced that it aims to expand its outreach mission into the landmark in the village of Hartford,

The church’s Cornerstone Community Center currently hosts youth after-school activities and summer camps, a food pantry and the secular Potter’s House School and Child Care Center.

“We have waiting lists for everything we do,” said Praise Chapel co-Pastor Kathy Janisse. “This will give us room to expand and launch programs that the Upper Valley really needs.”

Praise Chapel, which Janisse said was founded in 1989 and has about 100 enrolled members, bought the property from a member of the disbanded Elks Club, for $592,000.

Pointing in particular to the child care center, the Vermont Economic Development Authority announced it had worked with Community National Bank on financing the purchase.