If church ever closes, town wants Lawyersville park back


By Patsy Nicosia

If the Lawyersville Reformed Church is ever “done” with the small park there, the Town of Cobleskill wants it back.
Monday, Supervisor Leo McAllister and councilmen fine-tuned the language in the deed which will turn the park over to the church, noting that if the church ever closes its doors, the park’s ownership will revert back to the town.
The church has maintained the park for years, mowing it and adding electrical services and everyone assumed it was church property.
It wasn’t until it became the site for an Eagle Scout project last year that a deed search turned up a surprise: It was originally donated to the then-Village of Lawyersville by the Utter family, who farmed across the street, with ownership passing to the Town of Cobleskill after the Village of Lawyersville dissolved.
Town Attorney Mike West suggested changing the wording of the deed as a way to safeguard the park, pointing out that many local churches have closed their doors in the past few years.
Mr. West also noted that if the church ever passes into private hands, the park property is large enough to build on.
“I wish the church well, but it’s a sign of the times,” he said. “It’s not unusual for churches to go out of business…I’ve had five or six recent sales go through my office.
“My big concern is making sure it always remains a park because it’s the identity of the community.”
The town approved the language and the donation.
If no one petitions against the donation in the next 30 days, ownership of the park will pass to the church.