A potential new tenant and evangelist, Joe Works, has his eyes set on purchasing the former Dominican Monastery on West Church Street that has been vacant for years. 

Works stood in front of the Town of Elmira Planning Board to get a referral to purchase the building to be used as the School of Good Works. According to Works, the property would be used as a Church for worship and bible study on Thursday’s and Sunday’s. It would also be used as a bible camp during the summer for a young men and ladies camp. 

“During the weekly services, I anticipate 25 or so people,” Works said. “In the camps, we usually have between 80 and 90 people.”

Works said the building is ideal because there are dormitories and many rooms for classes. 

West Elmira residents showed up to the meeting to voice their concerns, and meet Works for themselves. Residents remained cautious because Works is not the first potential buyer to want the property. Neighbors were extremely concerned with the previous person’s past

Back in 2017, Rabbi Sroya Sorscher of the Bronx Jewish Boys wanted to turn the former monetary into a Jewish place of study and worship.

It was found that in 2009, Sorscher and his brother served two months in federal prison after pleading guilty to defrauding a free lunch program at an elementary school they ran in Brooklyn. 

“We had a long battle with the last potential buyer,” Rick Emanuel, a West Elmira resident, said. “We are a good group of people but we need to do our due diligence and make sure the next buyer will be a good neighbor to us.” 

The Town of Elmira Planning Board ultimately decided not to take a stance, and neither referred or disapproved Works. Instead, they went with “no comment.” This will now be brought to the Zoning Board, where there will be a public hearing and final decision. 

Due to the zoning in which the former monetary is in, the property could only be used for certain purposes, including a church, which is why it needs approval