Future of church’s surplus space debated

Immanuel United puts up suggestion board on Kimberly Avenue

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This article was published 08/07/2014 (3068 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Immanuel United Church is taking input as to how to use some surplus space.

The church, located at 755 Golspie St., recently erected a chalkboard where those walking by can write down suggestions regarding how it should proceed with an estimated half-acre of land fronting behind the building and bordering Kimberly Ave.

The space is used for parking for services and some other church events.

Photo by Dan Falloon Immanuel United Church congregants Scott Douglas, Verna McKay, and Margaret Smith are shown next to the church's In This Space, I Imagine... sign.

Scott Douglas, one of the organizers of the In This Space, I Imagine… campaign, said the church’s members have been discussing the space’s future for years, but the conversation grew more heated in the last several months.

“Some of (the reason) is economic,” Douglas said. “As a congregation, we’re getting older. We’ve got less money coming in. Is there some way to bring in more money to keep ourselves afloat — not that we’re on the verge of collapsing, but there are people whose job it is to keep that stuff in mind.

“They look at the land and say ‘that could be worth something.’”

Douglas said as of June 26, local people have filled the board with suggestions approximately five times. Suggestions have ranged from a community garden and farmers market to a park to a Starbucks or even a Greek theatre. Some have also suggested leaving things just as they are.

“I’m not sure if we knew if it would take — if it would just be a source of graffiti,” Douglas said.
“There are some things that are not realistic, but generally, it’s been good things suggested,” added Verna McKay, who has been a church member for almost 40 years.

There is no set deadline for submissions at this point.

Douglas, who was a member of the congregation as a child and has been active again in the last 15 years, said there is a group of church members who have formed a council and will take all angles into consideration. The group will then bring the best suggestion forward.

“We’re working with some consultants who are going to be looking from a real estate viewpoint and figure out what it would be worth to sell, to develop, or to build — they’ll give us a sense of what we’re looking at,” he said. “We’ll take it back to the council, and then we’ll take it to the congregation.”

Those looking to make a suggestion can also do so online at http://immanuelunitedchurch.net/back40/

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