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Eastview Christian Church plans community center at former YMCA

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The former YMCA building south of downtown Bloomington.

The former Bloomington-Normal YMCA building south of downtown Bloomington will become a community center, according to an agreement with Eastview Christian Church to buy the building.

Eastview senior pastor Mike Baker said the church wants to expand its outreach to offer afterschool services, mentoring, sports, job skills, ESL (English as a second language) and other programs to parts of the community that need it most.

“We know that poverty is a real thing and there’s a possibility even in a town like ours, that’s going to raise in the next few years,” Baker said. “We want to stand in the gap and make sure nobody gets lost in that.”

Eastview's main campus is in north Normal. It also holds church services at a building northwest of downtown Bloomington. Baker said the church has explored several properties to pair with its church on West Union Street.

Baker said Eastview plans to extend partnerships with various community organizations, including United Way and the Boys & Girls Club.

The YMCA moved into a new building near Veterans Parkway and the OSF medical campus in August.

The Bloomington Planning Commission will consider a zoning change for the downtown building on Wednesday. Eastview has requested the property be rezoned from Commercial (B-1) to Public Lands and Institutions (P-2).

Baker said Eastview plans to use the facility for many of the same types of programs the YMCA used it for, though it will likely close and fill in the swimming pool.

Baker said the property acquisition shows how Eastview has come full circle. The church opened in 1955, holding worship services at the YMCA gym at its original home on the east end of downtown.

“We have original members still with us 67 years later and recall using the second floor as a worship facility and using the original 'Y' there,” Baker said. “We like how God had tied the knots on the end of the story.”

While the purchase price was $100,000, Baker said Eastview plans to put about $50,000 into short-term renovations for the building.

Eastview hopes to move into the facility by the end of the year and complete the renovations by Easter 2023.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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