Longview Church Purchases Parke Way Fitness Center with Plans for Community Use | Local
Longview Lifepoint Church is permanently moving into what has been the Parke Way Family Fitness Center for decades, with the intention of continuing to provide the facility’s services to the public, spaces for community use and shared workspaces.
Lifepoint has finalized the purchase of the building effective October 1, 2020 and has already met at the Parke Way premises at 2628 Bill Owens Parkway. Reverend Brian Shobert, who heads the church, said the building had been there since the 1980s, with brothers Mike and Larry Alston operating the fitness center since 1985.
Upon closing of the purchase, Parke Way temporarily leased parts of the building to continue operating the fitness center. It made sense, Shobert said, to maintain relationships with people already using the fitness center.
“For us, it was a no-brainer,” to maintain those relationships and keep people in the building, he said.
This deal with fitness operators Parke Way is coming to an end with Lifepoint and Parke Way unable to agree on a contract extension, Shobert said.
At the end of contract negotiations, “Lifepoint considered all options,” according to information released by the church. “One option was to look for a new fitness partner / tenant. Another option that we prayed about and ultimately decided on was the best way to use the facilities, which we were fortunate to have, was to manage all building functions. internally. “
“VIEWpoint Community & Fitness Center was developed out of love for our community and a desire to serve it well. …. We plan to offer all current fitness programs in the building. We are working diligently to ensure that it’s all in place from October 1. “
Lifepoint was established as a mission of the Oakland Heights Baptist Church in 2003 and designed to serve people “without a church,” who were not interested in the traditional church model, or who perhaps had been injured by the church.
“We have never had a traditional church model,” said Shobert.
This meant, for example, that for 10 years from around 2007, the church rented out what was once a movie theater in the North Loop Plaza shopping center at Judson Road and Loop 281.
“It was in horrible condition,” said Shobert, recalling the significant investments the church has made in the property.
When the mall was acquired by The Retail Connection from local owners, continuing to rent there no longer made sense to the church for a variety of reasons. Lifepoint began maintaining an office on Loop 281 while church services were held at the Summit Club on Judson Road until they moved to the Parke Way building.
Now Lifepoint has a “church plan and community plan” for the building, with the church keen to recognize the importance of this building to the community, Shobert said.
The church has searched at length for its new home, with the central question of “how to recreate Solomon’s Porch,” Shobert said, and not of creating a model temple of worship. This model extended to the time of Jesus, but the early Christian church didn’t really have any buildings to meet in. Jesus and his disciples, for example, gathered in the upper room.
Solomon’s porch or portico was attached to the temple, but the temple is not where Jesus’ ministry was centered, Shobert said. Instead, he started from Solomon’s porch and spread out. Solomon’s Porch, he said, was a place for the community to come together, with people of different faiths and races mingling.
With this in mind, the church says it will continue to offer current fitness programs and activities such as basketball, racquetball and pickleball and the pool. Membership prices are reduced and the church plans to host parties for rooms and shared workspaces available for rent.
The facility, Shobert said, will be a gathering place for the community – for family and friends to come together. Associate Pastor Casey Delay said plans are underway for a community stuff or treat event this year at the VIEWpoint Community & Fitness Center. They also expect to organize community pools with food trucks at the center.
The church recently hosted a swim party for Buckner’s foster care services, with Shobert saying organizations like this won’t be charged for using the centre’s facilities.
Renovations have already started in the facility, and more changes are planned, including changing the entrance so that it is almost at ground level instead of going up two flights of exterior stairs.
“We humbly ask that you give us the opportunity to discuss any questions, concerns or proposed plans,” the church information read. “We want to honor all fitness plans – personal, family business, insurance premium, etc. We will do this with affordable plans and new options on how best to use the spaces. Again, we are here to serve. “