Group Has Big Plans for Former Amherst Baptist Church

Amherst, VA - Right now, there's an effort underway to transform the old Amherst Baptist Church into a community center.

A group of residents has asked the county, which owns the building, to consider the proposal -- after a six month trial period.

They held an open house earlier this week and invited the community to take a look inside.

Organizers say they've gotten a lot of support to make this old treasure new again.

From saving souls, to saving a piece of history. The former Amherst Baptist Church was built in 1882, sold to the county back in 2005, and has sat virtually vacant ever since.

An informal group of about a dozen people has no shortage of ideas.

"It would be great to have a coffee shop, wifi cafe. And then somebody said, it would really be good to have some place open past 6 p.m. in Amherst," Michael Dowell, one organizer.

They say this is also about the location. The church is located at the corner of 2nd and Washington Streets, across from the county administration building and overlooking downtown.

"If we lose this, it'll be a big hole," explained Suny Monk, another of the group's organizers.

The only problem, they don't have much money and it could cost the county tax dollars to pay for utilities during the six month trial.

Over six months, they'd put on four to six events, as way to show the rest of Amherst what the building has to offer.

"We're all looking at ways for outsiders to enjoy small towns," Monk explained.

The idea is to bring people together, if not by faith, by community.

At their last meeting, the board of supervisors voted to postpone action until early May to study potential costs.