The Watchtower Society’s continuous expansion of its real estate holdings and construction of new Kingdom Halls has met with some resistance by residents of Clarksburg in western Massachusetts.
In a story published by iBerkshires.com, it was reported that the biggest issue in the dispute is the possible negative influence the new Kingdom Hall’s 60-space parking lot would have on rainwater runoff during storm periods. Residents were also resistant to the planned location because of the potential negative effects on local wildlife and increased traffic to the area.
Clarkson has a population of about 1700 and is located in a rural and mostly mountainous area commonly known as “The Berkshires.” The members of the North Adams Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses currently meet in a Kingdom Hall built in the mid-1970s that is located a few miles south of the proposed location.
A local representative of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, David Morgan, stated that the location was appropriate for the needs of the eighty current members of the congregation and would provide room for future growth.
Apparently nothing was said during the meetings about the organization’s current expansive real estate strategy taking place in hundreds of communities in North America. Rather than investing in the expansion or updating of current properties, the Watchtower uses local “Regional Building Committees” to manage and complete “quick-build” construction paid for with free labor and donations. Donations are used to make construction loans that are then paid back to the Watchtower by Jehovah’s Witness members. When the old lien-free Kingdom Hall property is sold all proceeds are paid to and retained by the Watchtower’s headquarters.
Time lapse record of a 2-day “quick-build” of a Kingdom Hall in 2007…
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