The Filling Station continues to serve the young people of Wellington even as the owners work with the bank to resolve financial issues that almost sent it to foreclosure.
NOJ Investments of Wellington LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 17, postponing indefinitely foreclosure proceedings on the building at 3906 Cleveland Ave. It originally had been scheduled for sale at auction on Dec. 28.
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“The investment company is reorganizing to buy us some time,” explained Joshua Griffin, executive director of the nonprofit Joshua Griffin Ministries, which has operated the teen center in the converted gas station since 2003. Points West Community Bank in Wellington “has been working with us so the nonprofit can eventually own the building outright.”
According to bankruptcy documents, the building, valued at $220,000, is the partnership’s only asset; claims against the partnership total $245,500. That includes $14,135 in Larimer County property taxes and $44,231 in other expenses.
Griffin’s nonprofit had been leasing The Filling Station from NOJ for $1 per month through 2015, and, as a 10 percent partner in the LLC, was responsible for making mortgage payments to Points West, according to the court documents. The amount of the mortgage is listed as $187,133, but Griffin said through negotiations, he now needs between $100,000 and $120,000 to pay it off.
“I feel pretty confident it will all come together,” Griffin said. “Points West has been great to work with. Because they are a local bank, I really believe they care about the community. They have even sponsored events for the kids here at The Filling Station.”
The Filling Station works with the Larimer County Department of Human Services and other organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Club, to provide a safe place for local youth and young adults, and get the kids involved in the community while finding hope for their future. It is run by a volunteer staff of about a dozen adults, including Griffin and his wife Jennifer.
Open five days a week, from after school to 8 or 10:30 p.m. depending on the program, The Filling Station also hosts AA and Bible study meetings. Griffin said on a typical night, between 30 and 50 teens come to the center; as many as 80 can show up for a Friday night event.
“We work with the older teens and young adults because there is no place else for them to go,” he said. “Wellington doesn’t have a high school, and there aren’t that many programs available for kids this age.”
Griffin said he had been working on expanding The Filling Station, and had collected “several thousand dollars” in a building fund. That’s been postponed until the current financial situation is resolved. He said a number of new donations have come in since 9News reported on The Filling Station’s troubles in December.
“I’ll be doing a lot of fundraising and grant writing, and working with the bank,” Griffin said. “The more money we can raise, the stronger our position to negotiate will be. Maybe a big donor will step forward, but I know that we couldn’t have been here for 10 years without the support of the Wellington community. ”
For more information on The Filling Station, and to see a video of kids telling what the center has meant to their lives, go to www. Wellingtonfillingstation.org. Griffin can be reached at 970-581-8112.