Philipsburg, PA 1173

Philipsburg, PA Lodge News

Elks Board of Grand Trustees OKs PCC acquisition agreement

By G. Kerry Webster
Philipsburg BPOE Lodge No. 1173 and Philipsburg Country Club will soon be one. Last week, the Elks Board of Grand Trustees gave its approval for the local club to take over operations at Philipsburg County Club, and handle all debt associated with it.
“This project fits in with what we are seeing now throughout the greater Philipsburg community,” said Gary A. Helsel, Elks trustee, a member of the Elks Transition Committee and a past member of the Board of Governors of PCC. We have seen the success of the Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership in growing area business, and the great start of the Main Street project to re-energize downtown. This is an exciting time to be a part of the Philipsburg community. I really believe that we are at the beginning of a renewed Philipsburg, and the Philipsburg Elks have every intention of being a part of that renewal.”
The Elks will soon have deeds drawn up, which will transfer the property to the lodge. The Country’s Club’s Board of Governors will cease to exist, but will remain in the form of an advisory golf committee. Club operations at the country club will fall under the Elks control, split among the three branches of Elks leadership: the officers, trustees and Home Association. All outstanding country club liabilities will be absorbed by the Elks. And, finally, all country club members not currently Elks members will receive a membership application and begin the process of becoming a member of the Elks.
The merger would effectively grow the membership to an already thriving social organization, as well as provide financial support for a well-loved social entity. Elks officials expect an increase in the already 1,000-plus membership. The country club has about 300 members. There are 250 individuals who already hold dual membership.
According to Daniel J. Nelson, Elks Lodge officer, esquire, and a member of the Elks Transition Committee, the road to gain approval from the Grand Lodge started as an easy one, but got a little more bumpy along the way. In June 2006, Philipsburg Country Club members voted 208 for the acquisition, with 28 against. In October 2006, Elks members voted 149 to 19 to take control of the PCC’s assets and liabilities.
The Elks needed to gain approval from their state sponsor before the agreement could even make it to the Grand Lodge for approval. Nelson said Philipsburg’s state sponsor, the honorable Carlon M. O’Malley, developed “concerns” with the plan, which focused substantially on the option merger agreement. He said it took many months of hard work to satisfy all oh his concerns, along with many phone calls, letters and multiple meetings between the country club officers and officers of the Elks. Ultimately, he said a face-to-face meeting was held in March with Judge O’Malley to resolve all outstanding issues.
Three weeks after that meeting, Judge O’Malley approved the permit application, and a week after that, the Board of Grand Trustees approved it unanimously.
“It is hard to understate the importance of this event,” said Nelson. “If Carlon O’Malley or the Board of Grand Trustees had failed to approve, for whatever reason, the option merger agreement would have instantly voided and the acquisition would have died. To say we were pleased is a bit of an understatement — we were ecstatic.”
Although the full takeover is not yet final, Helsel said he believes the most precarious aspect of the acquisition has been taken care of and resolved. He said the next step involves the merger of memberships, followed by the last step, which is the dissolution of the Philipsburg Country Club.
“Our next step is to get all eligible Philipsburg Country Club members who are non-Elks into the Elks, which is a formalized process,” said Helsel. “We have formed a transition committee which is busy working out those details to make this change over as seamless as possible.”
Until the acquisition is final and PCC members have become Elks members, the PCC will operate as it has been, said C. Samuel Peterson Jr., president of the Board of Governors of PCC.
“It is expected that membership will be resolved by the end of the summer and all other legal matters will be finalized by the end of the 2007 year,” said Peterson. “Until then, PCC will operate as it does currently and the restaurant will remain open to the public. Beginning in 2008, the former PCC will operate under Elks rules and regulations.”
Nelson said in the short-term, not much will happen visibly. He said the Elks will continue to occupy and use its lodge at 124 N. Second St. Elks lodge meetings, monthly breakfasts, lodge events and the social bar will continue as well.
“In the long-term, the process for planning, permitting, contracting and constructing a new lodge/club house will move forward with ever increasing visibility,” he said. “Our membership will likely be the second highest in the entire district — second to only the State College/Boalburg Elks.
He also said he anticipates the club’s prominence to grow in kind.
“With the new lodge/club house constructed and open, we anticipate hosting events not presently available in this area,” he said.
Nelson said he also expects the Elks’ economic foot print to increase as well.
“Presently, the country club and the Philipsburg Elks employs full-time and part-time employees,” said Nelson. “More than that, however, we impact the local economy in other ways as well, through charitable activities, donative efforts and community functions. Once combined, this impact increases exponentially.
“It is, of course, impossible to know to what degree at this time, but we are hopeful that sooner, rather than later, the Philipsburg Elks Country Club will be contributing appreciably to the economic health and well-being of the entire Moshannon Valley.”
Although the Philipsburg Country Club, as it is known today, will dissolve, the memories will be preserved.
“Even though this is an acquisition, and on paper, the Philipsburg Country Club will cease to exist, we have every intention of maintaining the Philipsburg Country Club’s past,” said Helsel. “Their history will not be lost but preserved.”
There is additional information available to both country club and Elks members on the Philipsburg Elks Web site. Visit and use the lodge locator function to find it. The zip code is 16866 and the lodge number is 1173.