Aurora City Council approves zoning for Main Baptist Church expansion
By Stephanie Lulay email@example.com October 8, 2013 9:24PM
The Voices for Excellence Community Choir entertain the members of Main Baptist Church during the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert on Sunday, January 20, 2013 in Aurora IL. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 11, 2013 12:05PM
AURORA — Aldermen unanimously approved rezoning that will make way for one of the city’s popular churches to expand.
More than 50 Main Baptist Church parishioners, representing a congregation of 1,500, cheered as aldermen voted 10-0 to support the church’s expansion at a City Council meeting Tuesday night.
Main Baptist Rev. Julian Spencer thanked the City Council in advance of the vote for supporting the expansion of the 146-year-old church. He said the new center, northeast of the existing sanctuary building at 808 E. Galena Blvd., will unite the entire East Side, regardless of race or creed.
“I’m just excited about what shall happen,” he said Tuesday night.
Under the plan, Main Baptist will consolidate 13 existing lots, including residential lots around the existing church, into two lots. Over the years, Main Baptist has obtained several homes around the church, which have been demolished.
Main Baptist leaders plan to demolish an existing church administration building at the northeast corner of Galena Boulevard and East Avenue to allow for the construction of a new 17,592-square-foot worship addition, creating an 842-seat worship space and administration building. The upper level of the new building will house the church offices. Under the plan, Main Baptist would retain an existing 6,204-square-foot building that would continue to function as a chapel and religious education space, according to a city memo.
The addition will bring all Main Baptist church services back to the East Side campus. Main Baptist holds many church services at the East Aurora High School auditorium now due to lack of space.
The expanded church’s parking would be just north of the expansion and on all of the second lot. A total of 96 parking spots will be available on the Main Baptist site.
Additionally, Main Baptist has in place an agreement with the nearby CarQuest Auto Parts to utilize their 50 spots in their parking lot during church services.
Mayor Tom Weisner said the church has a very “long and proud legacy” in the city.
Throughout the years, the church tore down their original 1890s frame church building, built a new church, added a religious education addition and purchased an administration building, according to the project architect, Celine Coath, principle of Park Ridge-based Jaeger, Nickola Kuhlman.