PAINTED POST - The vacant property that once housed the Corning Harley-Davidson store on Town Center Road in Painted Post has been purchased by Family Life Network, a Christian radio network and advocacy group based out of Kanona.

Family Life purchased the property for $1.42 million. The group plans to use the building as its new headquarters, relocating from its current Kanona headquarters.

“We’ve been looking for probably the last half-dozen years for a site that would allow us to expand our current facility,” Family Life President and CEO Rick Snavely said.

The group looked at the property prior to Harley-Davidson buying it in 2008, he said, but “the timing wasn’t right.”

Family Life has been based out of its Kanona location for approximately the last 50 years. However, the group’s expansion has outpaced the space and options available at its current building.

“We’re in a floodplain. We’re not allowed to build anymore,” Snavely said. “We had bought some land, but the more we studied the cost of getting public utilities there... our architect asked, ‘could you find another location?’”

The new building is “more than double the space we have,” he said, and the location is more preferable.

“Corning is more of a destination place,” Snavely said. “The accessibility is wonderful with two interstates there. It’s already got public utilities there. It’s a greater population base from which we can draw volunteers from to help out with our programs.”

Nearby businesses also make it optimal for weekend retreats and conferences. 

“We’ve got a Hampton Inn brand new right next door,” he added. “We’ve got an Econo Lodge in walking distance. You’ve got all of those things right there… it’s an ideal sight.”

The move is pending right now, as the group needs to raise additional funds to retrofit the building. Snavely said it intends to renovate the exterior appearance and construct a second story for Family Life’s corporate offices, radio studios, biblical counseling department and arts center to teach drama, music and dance.

He said the group is also interested in purchasing the adjoining property to build a new theater/auditorium.

Family Life received some help and good fortune leading up to the deal. 

After Harley-Davidson closed in early 2016, the organization learned that one of the property’s principal owners is a good friend of the ministry and a regular contributor. Snavely said Family Life met with him, and he lowered the asking price significantly to sell to the group.

“But he told me, ‘every time I write a check to pay it off, I’ll smile because I know I’m contributing to Family Life,'" Snavely said.

Eventually, a couple who are longtime ministry supporters heard about the negotiations. They said they would put up a matching $500,000 gift if the group were to buy the property.

“It blew us away, we’ve never had anything like that before,” Snavely said. “In 60 years of ministry, never.”

With that, the group sent out a fundraising letter to help cover some of the remaining cost. It needed to finalize the deal before the end of 2016, otherwise the asking price would rise significantly. 

Family Life covered the balance with just enough time to spare.

“About two minutes before midnight, on Dec. 31, the final gift of the year came in and it put us over the mark,” Snavely said. “It was absolutely incredible. The lord truly blessed us.”

The Corning Harley-Davidson store last occupied the space before it went out of business and closed on Jan. 16, 2016, affecting about a dozen workers. The property has remained vacant while owners searched for a buyer.