Asbestos removal is finished, the bishop announced.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Groundbreaking for the first building in a long-proposed City of God on the site of the former Idora Park is planned for late this year or early next year, a prominent local church leader said.
As a preliminary step, just under $100,000 worth of asbestos removal has been completed at the site of the former Idora Park ballroom, which was destroyed by fire in March, said Bishop Norman L. Wagner, pastor of Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church. The church owns the 27-acre former amusement park on the city's South Side.
The asbestos removal was done by Daniel A. Terreri & amp; Sons Inc. of North Jackson. Larry Himes, asbestos coordinator with Mahoning-Trumbull Air Pollution Control Agency, has sent the church a letter acknowledging satisfactory completion of the work, the bishop said Wednesday.
Coasters: Bishop Wagner said the remnants of the Wildcat and Jack Rabbit roller coasters will be dismantled this summer, and ground is to be broken late this year or early next year for the church's new $6 million cathedral, which is to become the first building in the City of God.
"There is no major donor. This is done by the membership and friends of Mount Calvary," he said of fund-raising for the City of God. "We are forming relationships with banking institutions," in connection with financing the cathedral, he added.
Upon completion of that new octagonal 3,200-seat structure, which a contractor estimated would take 18-24 months to build, the cathedral and church administrative offices would move from their Oak Hill Avenue location to the former Idora Park site, the bishop said.
The executive board of the 2,000-member church hasn't decided how the Oak Hill building, with a sanctuary seating just over 1,000 people, would be used after that, he added. "We're out of space here. We run three services here on Sunday to accommodate the people," he said during an interview at the Oak Hill building.
Other building plans: After the new cathedral is built, plans call for construction on the Idora site of an educational center to house a leadership school, a medical clinic, a business center (including a business incubator, a credit union and retail shops), and a conference center with a hotel, he said.
The bishop said he thinks the former Idora Park site is conducive to the religious and community service complex because it is an urban site, yet it is next to the natural scenery of Mill Creek Park.
"It makes an ideal conference center," he said.
He noted that the church has been host to Pentecostal conferences that have brought thousands of people to Youngstown State University's Beeghly Center in recent years and have ranked among the largest conferences ever held in the Mahoning Valley.