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Church making plans for Bolivar Insulation building

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A downtown church is looking toward the future with plans in the works for the former Bolivar Insulation building on Trafficway Street.

Michael Robinson, pastor for Hill City Church, said the the 2050 E. Trafficway St. property likely would become the first permanent home for the organization that currently holds services at the Gillioz Theatre. He said plans wouldn’t be cemented until summer or fall.

“We’re hoping to see some revivement along that corridor,” Robinson said, noting apps such as Google Maps typically point travelers down Trafficway Street as they head downtown from east Springfield.

At the Gillioz Theatre building, 326 Park Central East, Robinson said Hill City Church also leases the third floor to house its For the City Center. Robinson said church staff are based there, and it’s also open to nonprofits to use the space for temporary purposes, such as board meetings. Plans at the former Bolivar Insulation building may call for additional space to accommodate growth of the For the City Center. For the City’s website indicates demolition at the Trafficway Street building began in March 2019 for its future home.

In operation for three and a half years, Hill City Church started at Jefferson Avenue Baptist Church before moving to University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center and then the Gillioz Theatre.

“We want to be very plain, clear and simple about the message of the gospel,” Robinson said of the church’s beliefs. “We really want to see people thrive and be transformed in their purpose.”

The church purchased the 7.4-acre Trafficway Street property in December 2018, according to Greene County recorder and assessor data. It has an appraised value of $1.1 million.

Demolition has focused on deconstructing interior elements of the building, and large holes have been punched through the front of the property. Robinson said the first phase of the project calls on removing portions of the structure that are unsafe.

“It was originally built as a meat processing plant in the ’20s. Most of it would never meet code and would take a fortune to try and rebuild,” he said. “We’re are going to save what can be saved.”

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