Pastor Mark Weigt of The Ridge Community Church has said often his church would “be a good neighbor.”
And though The Ridge is not expected to move into its new home on Highway 100 until the spring, it has already made good on that promise.
The church, which began renovating the former Walmart building Jan. 11, has donated the lawn and garden building on the north end of the old Walmart to the City of Greenfield. The Division of Public Works plans to use it to store city equipment.
“The donation by the church allows the city to obtain a useful structure that we would not otherwise have the means to afford,” Mayor Michael Neitzke said. “For pennies on the dollar, when one takes into account that we have to remove it and reinstall it, the taxpayers are getting something that will benefit the services that are provided to them.
“It’s incredibly generous.”
DPW workers have been dismantling the building, which is 240 feet long and 40 feet wide, and transporting it back to the DPW yard, where it will be reassembled this winter.
“It’s a nice, free building,” DPW Superintendent Dan Ewert said. “It’s nice of The Ridge Church and the churchgoers to donate it.”
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Weigt said the donation was a no-brainer.
"This will hopefully grow as we go forward, but anytime we hear about needs and we’re able to meet them, we feel like that’s what we’re there for," Weigt said. "The community isn’t there for us; we’ve always felt we’re there for the community and this (new church) only enhances that.
"It was great that this worked out and we hope that we’ll have a chance to do other things like that."
Church expects to open this spring
Meanwhile, Weigt said construction of the church at the former Walmart, 4500 S. 108th St., is underway. The first-phase renovations of the existing building include a worship auditorium to seat 625 people, classrooms for childhood, teen and adult ministries, administrative offices and a café.
The initial building-renovation phase will utilize about 38,000 square feet of the property’s overall dimension, with an additional 22,000 square feet reserved for future church expansion.
Another 50,000 square feet of building space is slated for commercial or retail businesses in a second building-renovation phase.
"We look forward to The Ridge becoming a vital part of Greenfield and surrounding communities through our re-purposing of this great building,” Weigt said. “This location provides us an opportunity to serve our community by supporting area organizations and businesses that are already helping others, as well as fulfill our mission of helping people connect or re-connect with God by making church accessible, practical and meaningful in their everyday lives today.”
A completion date for the first phase of building renovations has not been announced, but Weigt said he expects weekly services to begin in the new building in early spring. Weekly services are currently held at Whitnall High School, 5000 S. 116th St.