Eastview Christian Church plans community center in former YMCA

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

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

“We know poverty is real and there’s a possibility that even in a city like ours it’s going to increase in the next few years,” Baker said. “We want to stay out of the way and make sure no one gets lost.”

Eastview’s main campus is in North Normal. It also holds church services in a building northwest of downtown Bloomington. Baker said the church explored several properties to associate with his West Union Street church.

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

The YMCA moved to 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 requested that 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 uses it, though it will likely shut down and refill the pool.

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

“We have original members still with us 67 years later and we remember using the second floor as a place of worship and using the original ‘Y’ there,” Baker said. “We love how God tied the knots at the end of the story.”

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

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

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