South Bend Cubs work with neighboring church to restore history
One South Bend pastor is calling a new partnership with his neighbor a blessing.
As development around Four Winds Field moves forward, officials at the South Bend Cubs are making sure a church right in their backyard doesn’t get left behind.
The Cubs’ president Joe Hart announced he would be working with Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church during Monday’s common council meeting.
That partnership will entail fundraising to help restore the significant building to its prime, while the Cubs cleared a nearby green space to build parking lot.
The common council says this collaboration proves there is room for expansion in the city without pushing out a piece of South Bend’s history.
“We certainly don’t want them to leave our neighborhood; they offer a lot of great things to the neighborhood,” said Hart during the meeting. “They’ve been good neighbors of ours and we want them to continue.”
The Cubs’ good neighbor moved into its Monroe street location three decades ago.
It was actually right around the time the stadium now commonly known as Four Winds Field was built.
In 30 years later, it’s still building out without pushing out its neighbor.
“Andrew Berlin had given us his vision and his plan with the development of the apartment complex and we had shared our vision as a church of helping the community,” said Pastor Chris Derrickson of Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
The church’s building has been around for nearly a century.
And it was home to the city’s very first African American church.
But there’s also rich history in the congregation that took over the site.
Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church has served this community for more than 30 years.
In that time, it has opened its doors to the city’s homeless population and served meals to more than 500 folks.
The common council was well aware of the site’s historic significance and is excited to see both parties work together.
“This is important. It’s really important to move forward and move into the 21st century and be that city, but it’s also important to hold on to the legacy and those things that are important to the people that have been here so long,” said Regina Preston-Williams, South Bend Common Councilwoman.
Members of the common council discussed plans to create a resolution that would recognize the 100th anniversary of the building and honor the impact the site has had on the city.