Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community gearing up to purchase South Side Property on Jane Street

The funky South Side has a funky church full of love and short on spaces to hold its musical, soulful, spiritual worship. The group is now gathering in Mt. Washington. Newsletter details, to get up to speed:
Worship Service, 12:30 p.m. at Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church (213 Bailey Ave.). There we can provide a place for kids to worship and play, and a time of fellowship and food following the service.

NOTE: We will no longer be meeting at the Walton Church on for Sunday Worship. The

Rev. Bebb Stone and the Mt. Washington congregation have graciously extended their invitation to allow us to worship in their space on Sundays through the Lenten Season. We are so thankful to have their support as we pursue purchasing a permanent worship location.

The zoning hearing is scheduled for March 6. On that day, we will present our request to meet at the 2700 Jane Street location as a religious assembly to the zoning board. Please continue to pray that we will be well received-- by the zoning board, the South Side community groups and our South Side neighbors.

You can contribute funds to be used specifically for the purchase and improvement of the building. The United Methodists have given us $300,000 to help buy the building, which is a crucial blessing in our mission to offer a place of worship in the South Side. However, we still need to raise money to help fund the initial purchase, plus money for whatever improvements we may need to make to building.

From the beginning, we have acknowledged that pursuing the purchase of the 2700 Jane St. location was going to take incredible amounts of patience and gracious contributions of time and money from our supporters. If you are considering giving to Hot Metal, now is the time.

Checks can be sent to :
Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community
2000 E. Carson St. #300
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Memo: Building Fund

We will also be sending out other information in the following weeks highlighting how you can help. Thank you for all your support thus far. Please continue to pray that God's will be done in this situation.

phone: 412-481-4010
For years, I had hoped, requested and pushed (a bit) to the church leaders that they should purchase and move into South Vo Tech High School. They could have got the building for a song, and music isn't such a problem. And, they could have then opened a year-round pre-school, day-care. Plus, other business opportunities could have flowed in the spaces as well, providing community service and income streams.

Another option that made a great deal of sense to me, as well as to other members associated with the church was to move into the now vacant ice rink facility within a shut-down park on the South Side located behind the UPMC South Side Hospital. The city owns that park, the padlocks and the lost opportunities. Ever hear the story of the guy that takes a candle and puts it under a basket?

There was a big effort to put in a bid for the ice rink facility in the May 2007 Request For Proposals (RFP) organized by the city after years of requests. A guy named Ray championed the effort. He had been a part of nonprofits and worked full time on the project for a number of months. They had an extensive committee of nearly 50 people from within and beyond the church. He had meetings all around town to make the proposal and get it into the city before the deadline.

Well, the deadline was in mid-May, 2007. There was NO NEWS of the city's selection until September 2007. Nothing was said for four months. And, then the news wasn't nice. Seems that all the proposals "stunk." They all were rejected. The city got to do nothing with the property -- again -- as I expected.

The Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community wanted to acquire the property and turn it into a year-round youth and community center. There would be a day-care in working hours. There would be places for Sunday morning service too. In the evenings and nights -- as well as weekends, there would be staff to supervise kids and adults in social work, group classes and light recreation. They had a gym space with a basketball court in there -- but it wasn't a big time sports operation.

This city's treatment of its resources stinks.

They would have had a long term lease for the facility and been able to go in and make updates, clean-up the facility and park, and build activities that would have had positive impacts on the region.

In the past few years, the Hot Metal Church has grown by using space in the Goodwill Building. But that space is no longer available to them with changes to the building expected.

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