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K of C closing book on banquet hall

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The Knights of Columbus is closing its building where meetings, bingo games, dinner parties and wedding receptions have been hosted for more than two decades.

The men’s Catholic fraternity is selling the Greenwood building it has owned since 1988 because it can’t afford to operate the two-story facility with dwindling member participation from the organization.

Members will still be able to play on the Knights’ bowling team and go on golf outings, but the organization can’t maintain its building. So, the Knights of Columbus is done with Bingo and wedding receptions.

“The expenses have gone up pretty naturally, and the income has gone down,” club manager John Dickey said.

The final wedding reception was slated for Saturday in the building’s 450-seat hall. The approximately 23,000-square-foot building on Pushville Road has been for sale since April, and the organization will move out by Friday.

The organization’s income has come mainly from renting the building’s reception hall and selling tickets to weekly dinners and Bingo games. But in recent years, fewer people attended the dinners and the Bingo games have dropped from as many as 150 players years ago to about 20 now.

Electric bills and other buildings costs were using up the money earned from fundraisers, which are intended to cover the organization’s costs and fund charities, Dickey said.

Dickey has been a member of the organization for 28 years, and membership has stayed pretty even, typically around 300 people.

The organization still gets new members, but last year more members died than joined the organization, he said. Membership requirements include being a man age 18 or older and being a practicing Catholic who attends church, communion and confession.

Currently, most of the nearly 300 members don’t attend events and don’t volunteer to tend bar at wedding receptions.

About 10 people volunteer to do most of the work to run the organization and maintain its building, Dickey said.

Part of the trouble with getting people to participate in group events and club leadership is that more than half of the organization’s members are older than 65, and younger members haven’t gotten involved, he said. Clubs aren’t much of a priority to people anymore, and the younger members already are busy with children’s sports and other activities, he said.

Knights of Columbus members will continue meeting twice a month at Our Lady of the Greenwood Church, and will still have the option to get life insurance, one of the organization’s primary selling points, Dickey said.

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