Four Square Church Conversion

Black Lake residents Ellie Getchius and Joe Getchius (not pictured) plan to complete their conversion of the former St. Maries Foursquare Gospel Church into a community center by December, 2019.

Joe and Ellie Getchius, owners of the former Foursquare Church building, are optimistic the community center could be open by December.

“We are hoping that building renovations will be up and running October-November and be able to open the center December or by 2020,” Ms. Getchius said. “We know timelines don’t always go in a straight line.”

The couple, residents of the Black Lake area, purchased the building last year.

“[Foursquare] left a lot of stuff inside. We spent a whole year cleaning up, doing the initial demo, getting it ready to go,” Ms. Getchius said.

According to Ms. Getchius the upper floor will feature and indoor play structure, space for wrestling and karate clubs among others, a tech and art room, conference room, café and play-care room.

“It’s a community center with a focus on youth,” she said.

Ms. Getchius said she envisions the top floor will be used by young children and provide a space for parents to meet.

“As a parent I think that is one of the biggest challenges—you want to do all these community things but it’s like well, I can’t really bring my five-year-old who has zero patience for sitting for an hour and half, while I’m in a meeting,” she said.

The lower floor will provide space for a fitness room, shower room, café kitchen and a recreational room for older children.

“The basement will feature a rec-room more geared to older middle school and high school children with the upstairs being the play structure for younger children,” she said.

Plans for the recreation room tentatively call for activities such as darts, pool tables, skee ball, a television corner with seating, a snack and beverage counter and a fireplace lounge.

According to Ms. Getchius, the fitness room will have space for cardio equipment and free weights.

“There will be a couple of ellipticals and some weights, so nothing huge, but something,” she said.

The primary focus of the center will be to give St. Maries youth resources and a place to go.

“It’s a community center but it has a really strong focus on youth,” Ms. Getchius said. “It seems like if kids don’t do a sport or the weather is bad they don’t really have a place to go beside the house...if parent’s don’t get off until five and kids are out of school at three they will know where they are at.”

Long-term they hope to provide more than just a place to go.

“The library is not open on weekends, so it’d be nice if the kids had somewhere to go where they could use a laptop, check out some art supplies...and eventually we’d like to have resources like tutors or something like that where kids can come if they need help,” Ms. Getchius said.

The center will be a nonprofit with a membership plan, operated by a mix of full-time staff and volunteers. Plan prices are not yet set.

“It will be membership based with hours that are open to the public. The cafe will be open to nonmembers. In order to make something like this run it needs generate some kind of income and we are trying to figure out that line of what people can afford or are willing to pay which is a hard one,” Ms. Getchius said.

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