GLASGOW – Two additional entities have expressed interest in serving as trustee of the Lera B. Mitchell Clubhouse, which serves as a community meeting venue.
Mayor Harold Armstrong announced the news during an Oct. 9 meeting at the South Green Street clubhouse. The mayor also shared the information with the Glasgow City Council on Monday.
“There’s a couple of other groups that stepped up and said they would like to be considered, so the clubs and those people are talking and we’re basically on the sidelines just listening (to see) what they are going to work out,” he said.
One of the entities is T.J. Regional Health. The other has yet to be named.
The city serves as clubhouse trustee, but the clubhouse is actually owned by the local chapter of the Edmund Rogers Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Glasgow Musicale, the Glasgow Garden Club and the Glasgow Business and Professional Women’s Club.
The city is no longer interested in serving as trustee due to the expense involved in the building’s upkeep.
LaDonna Rogers, chief of human resources for T.J. Regional Health, attended the Oct. 9 meeting and explained why the health organization is interested in managing the clubhouse.
“Basically, the talk that Neil (Thornbury, chief executive officer of T.J. Regional Health) and I have had is because it is an enhancement of what we do in the community. We truly care about the community and what goes on here and the groups that utilize this building are people that we service every day,” Rogers said.
“Again, we have a very important relationship with the garden club and the things they do to help the hospital. We just felt like it was something that we needed to look into. Of course, someone would have to request us before anything like that would take place.”
As trustee, the city pays about $80,000 a year for clubhouse upkeep.
Armstrong, City Attorney Danny Basil, the club’s representatives and some senior citizens who come to the clubhouse to play bridge, do ceramics, make quilts and shoot pool attended the Oct. 9 meeting. Among the senior citizens present for the meeting was Thurman Baker.
“I’ve been a citizen of Glasgow for about the past 14 years and I’ve been coming down here all of that time. During that time we’ve had several members who regularly come down to play cards and pool that have been terminally ill,” he said. “ … We have some terminally ill members now that are able to come down here. This is all they do. … . It is an important thing for us to have a place to go.”
The mayor told him the senior citizens will have a place to continue their activities regardless of whether that place is at the clubhouse or another location.
At the city council’s Sept. 28 meeting, it was announced that Bridge Kentucky, a nonprofit organization, is interested in becoming the clubhouse’s trustee and would like to keep it functioning as it is now. It was the first organization to express interesting in becoming trustee of the clubhouse.
A handout distributed at the Sept. 28 meeting said Bridge Kentucky strives to reduce poverty and financial instability by assisting at-risk families.
It was also mentioned at the Sept. 28 council meeting that a meeting between club representatives and officials with Bridge Kentucky would be scheduled.
Bridge Kentucky is still interested in becoming trustee and would like to locate its offices there, said Councilman Patrick Gaunce, who serves on Bridge Kentucky’s board of directors.
“If Bridge (Kentucky) is involved, which we would love to be, then we want to be involved with the rest of the people that is in that building, (but) if it works a better way for them, no harm, no foul,” Gaunce said.
During the Oct. 9 meeting, some club representatives said they weren’t in favor of Bridge Kentucky becoming the clubhouse’s trustee.
Glenda Eaton, president of the Glasgow Garden Club, said a majority of the club’s members do not want Bridge Kentucky becoming the trustee due to safety concerns with many people coming to the clubhouse seeking Bridge Kentucky’s services.
“We are not going to have people come see us if we don’t provide a safe environment,” Gaunce said.
Barbara Pendleton of the Glasgow Musicale said she thinks Bridge Kentucky “... is a fine organization, but I don’t think they are right for this building because they would have to make too many changes. They wanted to move their offices here and there’s no office space. There’s only one little room for an office,” she said.
Pendleton also said she also didn’t want to see the main meeting area of the clubhouse petitioned off into office space.
June Jackson, regent of the DAR, said her organization thinks Bridge Kentucky is a valid charity and does important work.
“We question whether or not their use of the facility is compatible with the ... five clubs, including Newcomers now, and the other activities that we support that are currently happening in the clubhouse,” she said. “But we have absolutely no negative thing to say about Bridge Kentucky.”
Some of the club representatives support the possibility of T.J. Regional Health becoming the next trustee.
“I think T.J. would be a fabulous choice. I think they could add to what’s happening here with health fairs and things that are of interest in our women’s club and the other men’s groups that are using the club, too,” Jackson said.
The city set an initial deadline of Jan. 1 for a decision to be made, but the mayor said Oct. 9 the city would wait until July 1.