With the exterior restored and a new coat of paint, the former Cumberland Church looked good when I passed it on a bike ride last month. Now the organizers of the Cumberland Community Events Center hope the Albany City Council can help their project along.
Back in 1999, the city bought four lots at the corner of Pine Street and Santiam Road, near Hackleman Park, from a private investor. The county’s online data base gives a price of $145,000 for each, but since all four were sold on the same date by the same seller, the amount is probably the total the city paid for all four.
In 2020, the council sold the corner lot to the Cumberland group for $69,000 and gave the group a lease on the oher three with an option to buy them for $207,000.
The former church was moved to the corner lot, with the goal of developing the historic building and adjacent grounds into a privately operated center for, as the name implies, “community events.”
In October the Cumberland group asked the council to modify the lease and purchase deal “in order to help the project move forward in a more timely fashion.”
The council discussed this briefly on Nov. 29. It did not take a vote, but councilors seemed to be willing to lower the potential selling price of the remaining three lots to what the county assessor now thinks they are worth, which is about $196,000.
According to what I heard Parks Director Kim Lyddane tell the council, any proceeds from the sale of the lots should go toward maintenance and repairs at Hackleman Park and/or the Albany Skatepark across the street.
It was hard to tell exactly what the council was willing to do. But City Manager Peter Troeddson said he could tell what the members had in mind.
Some kind of revised land transaction intended to support the Cumberland project is likely to come before the council soon, but when is anyone’s guess.
In the meantime, you can go to the corner of Santiam and Pine and admire the old church through the chainlink fence. Or you can check the group’s website and find out how you can help. (hh)
Postscript: I may have been the only who couldn’t tell exactly what the council wanted on this point. The clerk’s summary of the council meeting, published Monday, declared: “The council directed staff to offer a revised lease option contract with a reduced purchase price and one three-year renewal period.”