After spending more than 50 years at the same location, one of Wyandotte’s most well-known organizations is about to move to a new home.
, currently located at 2430 Biddle Ave., is heading about one mile south to a building once known as the Pennsalt Club, at 3530 Biddle Ave.
At the new site, the Knights will take over both and the now-closed Jackalopes Country Bar, both of which are part of the same building the Knights have purchased.
Council 1802, which is currently headed by Grand Knight Ferd Keller, has been in Wyandotte since 1915. Wyandotte is also home to another council, Knights of Columbus Council No. 13607.
The Knights are a national, Catholic service organization made up of men age 18 and older. As part of a community, members often perform charity work and participate in community events.
By relocating, Council 1802 will now be closer to downtown Wyandotte, something Keller said will help get the group more involved in city events, such as the monthly Third Friday celebrations.
“We’ll be able to be a part of the city, as we always had been,” Keller said. “We feel strongly that we are part of the community. We want to make sure we are participating.”
The new building will also be near , which he said could be beneficial to the Knights.
“It’s an interesting location where it is, being across from the golf course," Keller said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to be more visible and involved in community events.”
That extra visibility, Keller said, could ultimately help recruit new members.
Currently the council has 450 members, Keller said, which is down from more than 2,000 at its peak
Paving the way for the move down Biddle, Keller said, is the sale of the council’s current building to . The hospital is located across the street and was already leasing space in the building, using it for medical records storage.
Stephanie Scheer, a hospital spokeswoman, said that nothing definite has been established regarding what purpose the building will serve for the hospital.
“No formal plans have been announced for Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital's future use of the Knights of Columbus building,” Scheer said. "We, as a hospital, are always looking at ways to expand our services to meet the needs of the Downriver community. The acquisition of the Knights of Columbus building is just another way of how we are growing and expanding."
Keller said the Knights looked at about 10 different sites before settling on the former Pennsalt Club location. Having strong roots in Wyandotte, dating back nearly 100 years, he said the group had no plans to leave the city.
The first meeting hall used by the organization, beginning in 1915, was the current site of , Keller said, and they have now used the current hall for more than 50 years.
Moving in 2012 will be an interesting change in the history of the organization, Keller said, but it will be a step in the right direction.
“It’s a good move for us,” he said. “We’re entering another era.”