Chain of Lakes Church Presbyterian Church in Blaine announced plans June 2 to build a church and community gym that doubles as a storm shelter for The Lakes development in Blaine.

In November 2011 the church bought 12.37 acres of land in The Lakes development in Blaine at 12450 Alamo St. NE. The property is south of 125th Avenue near Malmborg’s Garden Center.

Currently the congregation’s 125-150 parishioners are worshiping at 10130 Davenport St. NE, Blaine. After the new church is built, the old space will be sold.

In Spring 2012 the Blaine City Council approved a conditional use permit for the property and a plat to subdivide it into a lot and an outlot.

In March 2018 the church formed the Chain of Lakes Building Team, which would decide what to do with the property. The team gathered feedback from the congregation and the community on the Chain of Lakes Church website and social media.

John Altrichter, the capital campaign chair and building team co-chair, said the team ultimately decided to build a one story, 15,000 square foot worship space and community center. On the west side of the site there will be a worship space, nursery and cry room, music room, offices, conference rooms, handicap accessible restrooms and a commercial-grade kitchen.

Parking will be on the south side of the building near Alamo Street, and the property’s community garden will remain.

The eastern side of the site will be a full-size high school-authorized basketball gym. Altrichter said the church is in early discussions about providing the Blaine and Spring Lake Park School Districts with a space for youth basketball. The church also plans to add its own youth sporting events.

“We see this project as a service to the community,” Altrichter said.

The basketball gym will also double as a storm shelter that could withstand an F4 tornado (207-260 miles per hour winds). The gym would provide shelter for over 80 homes and apartments adjacent to the property in The Lakes Development, where a majority of the housing has no storm shelters or inadequately built storm shelters, according to Chain of Lakes pastor Paul Moore.

“Part of our task always as a church is to make an impact in the community, and we saw this need for a gym and a shelter, which is why we want to provide it,” he said. “I believe this new building will help us make some positive changes in the community.”

Chain of Lakes Church is currently awaiting approval of a $1.5 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (also known as FEMA), which will go toward building the gym.

“I’m excited that we get to be a part of this community,” building team member John Ivers said. “We’ll get to provide a safer option during storms for the people who live in The Lakes development and ... more space for recreation.”

Currently Chain of Lakes Church is fundraising for the new building. Altrichter said the project is estimated to cost approximately $3.9 million.

The new Chain of Lakes Church is expected to break ground in March 2020 and be complete by December 2020. Langer Construction in West St. Paul and Rice-Stromgren Architects in Minneapolis will head up the project.

To learn more about Chain of Lakes Church, visit colpres.org.

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