Pictured, from left, are city recorder Randy Sanders, mayor Robbie Skinner and councilman Jack Reger. / Photo by Katie Kuba

City officials approve purchase of Cuppari property that could house Stockert Youth Center addition

BUCKHANNON – The City of Buckhannon will soon possess all the land it needs to build a proposed addition to the Stockert Youth & Community Center that city officials have been raising funds for since 2017.

At its Thursday, Nov. 4 meeting, Buckhannon City Council approved an agreement that authorizes the city’s purchase of two tracts of land – one fronting East Main Street and the other fronting South Florida Street – that are located adjacent to SYCC and the former Knights of Pythias property the city also purchased (and closed on) in May 2021.

City attorney Tom O’Neill outlined the terms of the agreement, which says the city will buy the two parcels, 61 East Main Street and 6 South Florida Street, from current owner Catherine Cuppari for $150,000.

“This provides for the purchase of the two Cuppari lots, the vacant lot and the garage lot adjacent to it that fronts on Florida Street, for $150,000,” O’Neill said. “The closing must take place no later than January 31st.”

City attorney Tom O’Neill review the purchase agreement at council’s Nov. 4 meeting. / Photo by Katie Kuba

Mayor Robbie Skinner said purchasing the two tracts would allow for the new SYCC multi-purpose gymnasium complex to be constructed outside of the floodplain.

“I want to remind the council that this is a matter we have discussed in the previous executive session,” he said. “Really, the number one reason that this is a very attractive piece of property for us is, should we build the Stockert Youth Center gymnasium, this will allow us to keep the gym out of the flood zone, which is a really important key for us building that facility – both from a long-term cost standpoint and from a liability standpoint with the floodwater that could come up into that area.”

“This property purchase will pay for itself just in a few years’ of flood insurance on the property,” he added.

According to the purchase agreement, closing must take place by Jan. 31, 2022, after which the city will hold equitable and legal title to the properties. It also states city officials will have “reasonable access” to the property in order to prepare for the closing and that it will accept both plots in “as-is condition.”

Councilman David Thomas made a motion to approve the agreement, which was seconded by city recorder Randy Sanders prior to passing unanimously.

Prior to finalizing the transaction, city council must adopt an ordinance that formally authorizes the purchase.

The City of Buckhannon owns SYCC, which functions as a department within its general fund. Since 2017, when SYCC executive director Debora Brockleman said the center’s programs had outgrown its building, city officials and SYCC board members have been raising money for the construction of a new gymnasium complex/multi-purpose facility that will ideally serve as a home for youth recreation, community events and more.

As of Thursday, the SYCC capital campaign launched in 2017 had raised $428,430, and there’s an additional $12,000 pledge for a total of $440,430, according to city finance and administrative director Amberle Jenkins. However, building the addition could cost as much as $2.5-3 million.

According to previous My Buckhannon stories, SYCC board members are currently working with architect Michael Mills of the Mills Group to finalize a design for the addition, which could include the following features: a high school regulation-sized basketball court, a snack bar/concessions area, seating for approximately 250 people, locker rooms and outdoor seating.

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!