Albany churches expand beyond the sanctuary - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany churches expand beyond the sanctuary

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany church continues its mission of changing lives beyond the sanctuary.

About 4 1/2 years ago, Greater Second Mount Olive and the Mount Olive Community Outreach Center bought old military housing in east Albany for $6.6-million. Boyette Village is now known as St. John's Estates, a neighborhood that offers families affordable housing.

The church wants to expand the project and renovate 150 more homes. Tuesday night, city commissioners approved a rezoning request to allow them to move forward with phase two.

"And the second phase we're doing home ownership but we're doing it a different way. We're going to do lease to purchase because of the economy being tough and people struggling to have either good credit or large down payments so we're shifting on the second phase how we'll do it," said Greater 2nd Mount Olive Reverend Lorenzo Heard.

Reverend Heard says the economy slowed down things a bit but he hopes to see a pickup soon. St. John's Estates has full amenities like grass-cutting service, a swimming pool and tennis.

Another Albany church also plans to expand and Tuesday night they won their fight to do it. Gethsemane Worship Center wants to add a barber shop, beauty salon and other projects to its property.

The Planning Committee denied their request for a zoning change. Citing the improvements they've already made in that neighborhood, church leaders urged city commissioners to approve their request Tuesday night.

Commissioners did so unanimously with some conditions.

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