CIRCLEVILLE — The Community United Methodist Church is poised to grow its footprint with plans to use the newly demolished space to better serve the community.

Last month, three properties near the southeast corner of the Pickaway Street and Watt Street intersection were reduced to a patch of dirt.

The Rev. Tad Grover, senior pastor, said the church decided last year to move forward with plans that started before two of the houses were purchased in 2011.

“The three houses were taken down to make way for other possibilities,” Grover said. “Currently the broad objectives of the church include additional parking, green space and a building that can be used for a variety of activities. Detailed plans for these ideas have not been developed. Congregational input will help develop those plans, which may incorporate new or different ideas.”

The church as it stands now was constructed in 1909 and the education building was later added in 1964.

“Over the years the church has acquired properties adjacent to the church to be used primarily for parking,” Grover commented. “The most recent activity was in August of 2015, when the church acquired the property at 130 North Pickaway Street. The house was in very poor condition and has been unoccupied since then.”

The other two additional properties, 132 N. Pickaway St., and 211 Watt St., were managed by Pickaway County Community Housing as part of their housing program. Those houses have remained occupied from the time the church purchased them until their demolition last month.

All funds derived from the houses in the form of rent have been retained by PICCA, meaning the church has received no financial benefit from the properties.

Grover said the church wants to take action based on their name and “continue to provide for the broader community.”

“The church currently offers a number of programs that benefit the community in some way,” Grover told The Circleville Herald. “These programs include the Sunday evening Community Life Ministry, which offers a free meal followed by programming for children, youth, and adults, our Compassion Fund, which provides assistance in paying utility bills and rent, and a community garden that produces fresh vegetables that are donated to the food pantry, including over 2,000 pounds of vegetables last year.”

According to Grover, the church would remain committed to the community.

“We believe that the space previously occupied by the houses identified above can be used in other ways to benefit the community,” he said. “We are looking forward to the developments that will accomplish this.”

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