Sackville group running out of time to save landmark church

The owners of the former United Church in Sackville have received an offer to buy the landmark building for $1 and move it, but a Sackville community group is still hoping to keep the historic church in town.

United Church up for sale for $1 to anyone who will move it, U.S. buyer has made an offer

John Duchemin and Demian Hammock, members of Sackville SPLASH, hope to keep the United Church in town. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

A Sackville community group that's working to keep an historic church in town may be running out of time.

The former United Church was put up for sale in February for $1 with the caveat that the buyer must remove the large building from the property.

John Lafford, whose company owns the property, says a prospective buyer from the U.S. has made an offer.

"I know that these are legit people who … a church organization … who have come down and they've made an offer," he said.

Sackville realtor Mary Sears says they're looking to have the conditions of the sale met by the end of this month.

Meanwhile, members of the community group SPLASH say they hope the property owner will consider an offer they have made, to buy the landmark building and keep it where it stands.

"So it's a much different kind of negotiation," said John Duchemin, chair of the group, which aims to preserve Sackville's heritage.

The group also recently read a motion to Sackville town council, looking for support. Council is expected to make a decision by Monday, the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Lafford says he appreciates people in the community don't want to see the church go, but says business is business.

"We bought the land and the church came with it. We're developers, that's the reality of it, but there's no question we want to see what's best for everybody, but in saying that, you can't please everybody," he said. "We're developers in Sackville and we have to make sure that we are protected."

The United Church, located at the corner of York and Main streets, is about 135 years old.

It seats 1,200 people and the building boasts intricate woodwork, stained glass windows and a classic pipe organ.

The structure is starting to show its age and needs about $350,000 in renovations to repair cracked walls and pillarsand to replace the roof and windows.