— Pastor Michael Lyle had a good day on Friday.
Not only did he get to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of a project he has been working on for three years, he also got to operate heavy machinery.
The event was the official groundbreaking ceremony for The Vineyard Center, which will be located on Terrace Street just past Tick Tock's restaurant.
"It has been visioning," said Lyle about the center, which will be operated by the First Presbyterian Church of Honesdale.
The faith-based community center will have both a recreation area as well as classroom area. Lyle said the goal is to have it open in one year.
The new center is projected to cost $3 million and so far, the church has $1.8 million in the fund. Some of that is money from the church and some is part of an ongoing fundraising effort to build the center.
"We looked at the needs of the community," said Lyle. "And how do we meet those needs."
Lyle said many youth in this area need a place like a community center and that has been the driving force behind the project.
The First Presbyterian Church has grown steadily over the past five years, said Lyle. Attendance has risen from 50 people to over 250 on a regular basis.
The Christian pre-school has been filling up each year and there is a need for additional classrooms, which will be located in the new community center.
"We are simply running out of space for programming," said Lyle.
So to go with the expansion of the church, officials thought reaching out to the entire community should be part of the scenario.
That's where the visioning of the new community center came to light.
As part of the new center, the church has outlined outreach opportunities. Those include:
• After-school programs
• Summer programming for kids
• Tutoring and educational opportunities
• Sports programming for people of all ages. That will include a volleyball league for adults as well as college-age programming during the summers.
• Summer camps
• Plays and concerts
• Winter exercise space
• Reception hall
"The opportunities are endless," said Lyle. "This is a huge step of faith for our church and our community, but the cost of not doing it has far reaching ramifications."
Officials from the church and others involved in the project were all on hand during the ground-breaking ceremony on Friday morning, complete with golden shovels.
Page 2 of 2 - Partners in The Vineyard Center project include Honesdale National Bank, Dakan General Contractors, Kiley Associates Surveyors and Engineers, Northeast Construction and Leeward Construction.
Once the formal ceremony was complete, Lyle was then given the controls of a piece of heavy equipment and began knocking down a house on the property.
He performed well as the house came crashing to the ground, all the while the bats in belfry were fleeing their formal home, flying blindly in the daytime.
A barn on the property had previously been torn down and the dirt work is well under way.
Anyone who would like to donate to the project can do so by mailing a check to First Presbyterian Church, 201 10th Street, Honesdale, PA 18431. Put "fundraiser" in the memo line.
You can also call 570-253-5451, email email@example.com or visit www.1stpreshonesdale.com.