10/30/09 — Pikeville church wants to build new outreach center on property

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Pikeville church wants to build new outreach center on property

By Laura Collins
Published in News on October 30, 2009 1:46 PM

Some members of the town of Pikeville Board of Commissioners and the Elm Grove Church in Pikeville met Tuesday to discuss a possible new development coming to the town.

An Open Door Community Development Corp., an outreach of Elm Grove Church, is in the beginning stages of its plans to build "The Golden Gate Pavilion" on land across from the church, which it already owns.

On the 19.9 acres of land, located between U.S. 117 and Booker Road, the church plans to use 11 acres for the pavilion and 8.9 acres for a perpetual garden.

The pavilion would encompass commercial spaces, a work training and call center, a health care program, a community center and chapel and senior housing with 70 living units. The perpetual garden is described as a cemetery, park and spiritual museum.

Kenneth Vaughn, pastor of Elm Grove Church, said this initiative started about eight years ago.

"We've been in the community of Pikeville for 120 years. ... In 2001, God put it on our heart to start a CDC," he said. "Our mission is to provide work force opportunities and preventative health solutions to the community."

Gabriel Johnson, managing director of An Open Door CDC, said it would likely be a customer service type call center and would create about 125 jobs. He said he does not currently have a business that is planning on opening a call center in Pikeville, but said he has been talking to businesses in Research Triangle Park.

He said the church also intends for the health program to promote awareness, offer testing/screenings and counseling for patients with chronic and sexually transmitted diseases.

The senior housing, in addition to the 70 apartment-style living units, would also have additional facilities for "senior adult day care services."

The community center would be equipped for after-school programs, fairs and symposiums, performing arts and entertainment, church services and athletic events, Johnson said.

"Leadership must come from us. We must create our own opportunity, our own reality," Johnson said. "We are very excited about bringing ministry beyond the walls of Elm Grove Church."

Johnson estimated that the cost for water, sewer, road, curb, gutter and sidewalks would be about $498,000.

He did not give a final cost estimate for the project, but said the church plans to start a campaign to raise funds and is also looking for investors. Johnson said he hopes to have the project competed in three years.

Kathie Fields, town administrator, said there are no costs to the town for the facility at this point.