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Business manager objects to church coming downtown

 A prime space in downtown Goshen is causing two Michiana organizations to butt heads.

New Life Church submitted a proposal to the 29,000 square foot building, but a business manager not too far away said that it is a bad idea.

It is the sights and sounds of downtown Goshen that make the location so appealing to Pastor T.J. Meehan.

“Just like any other entity in the community, you want to be in the heart of the community,” said Pastor Meehan.

He is talking about New Life Church, a place of worship he wants to see come alive in the current Home Again and Best Little Groom building.

“That building right there has the proper square footage we need to properly facilitate all that we desire to do,” said Meehan.

Their mission is misguided in Brad Weirich's mind; he is the General Manager at Maple City Market just a few businesses over.

“I grew up in downtown; my mom actually owned a gift shop downtown for many years,” said Weirich.

He has different ideas for the space.

“To have a place where people go to have their money stay local,” said Weirich.

Even going as far as saying he might buy it himself!

“Yes, we have some interest in that building. Absolutely. I believe that I would be here saying, making sure everyone's aware because i care about downtown, not because of my interest in the building,” said Weirich.

He believes retail in that space is the way to go because in his mind, church does not provide enough customer draw.

Pastor Meehan said he understands that concern and that is why he designed a retail store-front church.

“What that's going to be is basically a community respite. That's going to be a place for all ages to come and hang out conduct meetings and grab a juice, coffee, tea,” said Meehan.

Despite the compromise, it is still a tough sell for this longtime business manager.

The board of zoning appeals will meet about this on March 24th at 4 o'clock.
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