Crossroads Community Church announced plans Monday to open its next campus in downtown Kokomo across from the Howard County Courthouse.
The church – which has a location in southern Kokomo near the intersection of Indiana 26 and 931 – is expected to move in at 116 N. Main St. and employ renovations that will include the creation of a 340-seat auditorium on the ground floor, according to a media release distributed by the city of Kokomo.
Crossroads has since September 2018 been temporarily holding Sunday services at the Kokomo YMCA, but church leaders have sought a permanent downtown site.
“We firmly believe in the changes [Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight] and his administration have made,” said Kevin Sprinkle, the church’s north campus pastor, about the project, which will require rezoning approval by the Kokomo City Plan Commission.
“The increased walkability of downtown and connectivity has brought a new energy to the city.”
Crossroads "is hoping to begin renovations" at 116 N. Main St. in May, noted the announcement.
Other anticipated changes include a third-floor event space for community events, along with a commercial kitchen and dining area and “breakout and meeting rooms on other floors."
The second floor is planned as office space for the church’s north campus ministries.
Crossroads also hopes to relocate its central offices downtown, a move that would bring 15 to 18 employees, within the next decade.
“We are thrilled to locate our church directly across from the courthouse,” remarked Chris Duncan, lead pastor of Crossroads, who hopes to have the new downtown site ready for Christmas Eve services.
“We want to offer hope and help to those who need it most.”
On the “What we believe” page of its website, the church says, “Too many people have experienced religious groups that use their beliefs to mistreat & divide.
“We think God’s church can do better. All people matter to Him, and that means meeting them where they are in their journey just like He did. … It is not a measuring stick for who we accept or reject. Jesus already established that when He gave his life for all…”
Currently, the building at 116 N. Main St. is home to law offices for McIntyre, Hilligoss, Vent, O’Keefe & Welke, LLP. The building’s current owner is Courthouse Associates LLP, run by attorney James B. McIntyre.
McIntyre disputed the media release’s assessment that Crossroads “recently purchased the former Hillegoss (sic) law office.”
“We have not seen the media release you refer to and do not wish to comment on its contents,” said McIntyre, who did not respond to follow-up questions, in a statement to the Tribune.
“We can tell you that Courthouse Associates LLP, the owner of the building, has entered into a Purchase Agreement with 400 North Main LLC for the sale of the building. This proposed sale has not closed. We are informed that the Church is discussing purchasing the real estate from 400 N Main LLC. For the foreseeable future, the law firm will operate out of the same location.”
Operating 400 N Main, LLC is developer Scott Pitcher, who told the Tribune: “I’m buying it from McIntyre.”
Pitcher said he plans to work out a deal with Crosswords once he owns the building.
“I know for sure they’re going to lease it, and I … hope they want to buy it,” he noted.
Pitcher said he hopes to close on his purchase of the building within the next three weeks.
“The law office is looking for a new location, but there is no hurry for them to move out,” he added.
Duncan told the Tribune that the church plans to engage in a lease-to-purchase agreement with Pitcher, saying Crossroads will eventually purchase the site but “probably not within the next 10 to 12 months.”
Duncan said the church’s eventual, full purchase will include the stone building that houses the law office and a connected brick building to the south that butts up against an alleyway.
Along with weekend services, Duncan said the new downtown site will also be home to the Celebrate Recovery program.
Celebrate Recovery, a national ministry, is a “Christ-centered 12 Step program,” according to its website.
It is, said Duncan, for anyone with “hurts, habits and hangups” and focuses on drug and alcohol recovery. The weekly program, he noted, attracts around 150 people on average and is currently run out of First Baptist Church.
“It has just exploded, in a good way,” he explained about Celebrate Recovery, which has been operational in Kokomo for around 8 months.
In general, remarked Duncan, downtown Kokomo is expected to be a significant step for Crossroads.
And the heart of Kokomo, on the courthouse square, was the best place for the church, believes Duncan.
“The purpose for us … is that we have felt an opportunity to be able to encourage the people in downtown Kokomo, and we have seen tremendous growth in the starting of our second campus at the YMCA,” he said.
“What’s happened, for us, is that has propelled us to move forward to say, 'We’ve got to find a (permanent) spot.'”