Voters nix justice center, Baptist Building purchase - Word&Way

Voters nix justice center, Baptist Building purchase

Voters vote 3-1 against sales tax

Jefferson City – The Baptist Building in Jefferson City is for sale once again after Cole County voters gave a resounding "no" to a sales tax increase to fund a new justice center on Feb. 8.

The Missouri Baptist Convention and Cole County Commission representatives inked a $2.75 million contingency contract for the building's sale on Aug. 25. Cole County intended to purchase property from 13 other property owners in the 400 Block of East High Street and demolish the structures to make way for a new jail and criminal justice center.

The contract for the 77-year-old Baptist Building would only have been honored if two contingencies had been met — voter approval of a half-cent law enforcement sales tax and agreements with other property owners on the block.

The Feb. 8 outcome nullified the contract, and the MBC is looking for a new buyer.

"The MBC is under no pressure, nor does it have any deadlines to sell the Baptist Building. It has served Missouri Baptists well," MBC executive director David Clippard told the Jefferson City Post Tribune on Feb. 9. But we will continue to explore its sale and replacement."

In addition to convention offices, the Baptist Building houses the Missouri Baptist Foundation and the Missouri Baptist Credit Union.

Messengers to the 2003 MBC annual meeting authorized the Executive Board to pursue the possible sale of the building. At that meeting, they approved a motion by David Krueger, pastor of First Baptist Church, Linn, for the Executive Board to appoint a committee to investigate selling and to pursue opportunities.

At the same meeting, messengers also approved using the building as collateral for a $1-million line of credit through Exchange National Bank in Jefferson City to start the MBC's Agency Restoration Fund to pay fees incurred for the ongoing legal action against five MBC-related institutions.

In 2000, The Baptist Home chose to elect its own trustees rather than to allow the convention to elect them. Missouri Baptist University, Windermere Baptist Conference Center, Missouri Baptist Foundation and Word&Way took the same action in 2001.

The MBC has pursued legal action against the five institutions since Aug. 13, 2002.