SPECIAL FOR THE AJT //
The Shirley Blumenthal Park property in East Cobb, owned by the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA), is currently under contract to be sold to Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church.
“Our agreement with Mt Bethel UMC will complete a process that began several years ago when we made the difficult, but responsible, decision to market Shirley Blumenthal Park and use its proceeds to better serve the greater Atlanta Jewish community,” said Steven Cadranel, president of the MJCCA. “Although the facility may have outlived our purpose, we are very appreciative of the generous donors that helped create it and the many families it has served.”
Opening in 1986, Shirley Blumenthal Park welcomed countless children and families to its preschool, camps, and sports programs over the years. With Mt. Bethel’s purchase of the property, families will continue to frequent the site for years to come.
The high school will serve as an extension of Mt. Bethel Christian Academy, which currently includes an elementary and middle school, located on the church campus.
“The original vision of the school always included a high school, and we are glad to see that vision become a reality with the purchase of this attractive property,” said Michael Ostergard, chair of the Academy’s Board of Trustees. “The process has just begun with this agreement. We still have a lot of important work — architectural design, engineering studies, and fundraising — but we are excited to get started.”
Church leadership has been scouting different properties throughout East Cobb over the past few years. Meanwhile, the MJCCA has reduced its use of Shirley Blumenthal Park in response to demographic shifts in the East Cobb Jewish community and geographic challenges.
“This campus is a perfect fit for the new school,” said Jim Callis, Head of School. “While our kindergarten through eighth grade classes will remain adjacent to the church, the Shirley Blumenthal Park location will provide a convenient location only six miles away.”
The East Cobb community remains a priority for the MJCCA, which provides programs and services in the area, such as The Sunshine School, operated out of Temple Kol Emeth, cultural events, Jewish learning opportunities, and free bus transportation from East Cobb for youngsters attending summer camp at the main campus in Dunwoody.
“The decision to sell the property in no way diminishes our commitment to serve the Jewish community of East Cobb,” said MJCCA CEO Gail Luxenberg. “It underscores our path toward financial health as well as our dedication to providing high-level programs and services to all Jews of Greater Atlanta. We look forward to pursuing additional partnerships with other East Cobb organizations in the near future.”