Group working to transform old church into community center in Bremen
BREMEN, Ind. – There may soon be a new place for people to host birthday parties, take a painting class, or hold a meeting in Marshall County.
Bremen Community Cares Main Street wants to buy an old, historic building located at 214 E. South St. and turn it into a community center.
In 1875, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church built the church and used the space until 2002, when the church sold it to a local businessman. Since then, it has been rented out to a dance studio and used for family gatherings. The building’s owner is now looking to sell the space.
Bremen Community Cares Main Street president, Matt VanSoest, says the building meets a growing community need.
A recent survey found more than 70 percent of people living in town somewhat or strongly disagreed that there are activities available for young adults in the community.
The organization wants to transform the 10,000 square-foot space into an affordable, multi-use space for community and entertainment opportunities.
“This building could be used for a traveling art exhibit or a large kind of brew fest in the fall when we celebrate Oktoberfest here in Bremen,” said VanSoest. “We think that this space, especially with it being so adaptable, could bring different groups and different activities and hopefully attract people to come and visit Bremen.”
The organization says the project is in its fundraising stages. So far, they’ve raised $10,000 of the needed $50,000 to buy the building. They hope to purchase it by the end of the year.
“We’re really trying again to create an attractive venue for families, for young kids to be a part of,” said VanSoest. “We also see this building as a hub for all of the nonprofit organizations in Bremen… This would sort of be a really nice central base.”
VanSoest says after the building is bought, the organization will begin a capital improvements campaign to raise $500,000. That money would pay short and long term improvements to the building. He estimates it will take five to ten years to make all of the upgrades the organization would like to make, but he says the building can still be used as a center during that period.
“We think this building really serves our purposes,” said VanSoest. “We have tall ceilings, natural daylight, again it’s just the historic character of the steeple of the room that we’re in right now. It would be kind of an awe-inspiring type of venue, type space, to have a birthday party or some type of larger event.”
The organization is looking for volunteers and monetary donations. If people would like to help out, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org