Neighbors voice concerns about new downtown church

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A decrease in taxes, parking and losing Jane’s Gourmet Deli and Catering were all concerns brought up Tuesday night between residents of the Historic Centennial Neighborhood and Clear River Church.

Clear River Church has purchased the block between Third and Fourth streets, north of Brown Street, with plans to build a new church.

Neighbors talked about the history of the Centennial Neighborhood, which they’ve worked extensively to protect. They’ve preserved several homes and brought new town homes to the downtown neighborhood. Neighbors also voiced their concerns about the new church, including losing money with taxes, parking and possibly losing Jane’s Gourmet Deli and Catering.

Lead Pastor Tony Ranvestel said the long-term vision is to keep Jane’s on the block. He said the church will get creative to figure out a parking situation. He said they are considering renting out parking lots and using a shuttle from the downtown garages.

As for the design, Ranvestel said the congregation wants to fit in.

“One of our objectives is to be a good neighbor and even in the design process early on. We made sure that our architects had photos (of) some of the other buildings and relevant architecture. And so, we asked them to incorporate some of those features into the building design,” said Ranvestel.

The neighbors even invited church members to move into the neighborhood.

“We’re waiting. We’re waiting to see how it is — what they want. The church wants to fit into the neighborhood. We basically outlined how they could,” said Michael Hunt with the Historic Centennial Neighborhood Association.

Ranvestel said the church hopes to start construction this fall. He said the new church is slated to be complete by summer or fall of next year.

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