Minnetrista church to receive new facility

By Blaze Fugina Community Editor

Plans for a reconstruction of the Minnetrista located River Valley Church are in place for as early as fall after approval came from the Minnetrista City Council on July 16.

According to city documents, the church plans to construct a 14,200 square foot facility on the properties of 5595 and 5575 Westwood Ave. The two lots will be combined to create a 3.95-acre lot. Currently, a single family home sits on the lot at 5575 Westwood Ave. The lot was bought by the church, and was split off by the previous owners in 2007.

David Abel, the senior city planner for Minnetrista, said that the vote passed through the council without any concerns at the July 16 meeting.

"Everything has gone smoothly," he said. "There were a few neighborhood residents who came and spoke at the planning meeting, and that’s about it."

According to documents, the 14,200 square feet of the new facility will include a lobby, a 404-seat worship auditorium, a 108-seat auditorium, five classrooms, administrative offices, restrooms and storage space.

The original plan for the church was to begin construction on the new church this fall, but Abel said he recently heard that set backs could delay the beginning of the construction until spring of 2013.

"Tentatively, the church and the architect will go back to look at some numbers," he said.

The church will still be operational until construction is completed, with construction of the new building to be finished around April of 2013. According to city documents, the current River Valley Church building "intends to remain in the existing building until the new building is completed. At that time the existing building would be demolished and the parking lot finished in that area."

The current parking plan for the new church calls for 111 parking spaces for visitors to the church.

According to a document in the city council packet from the Vanman architect company, the building will primarily be used on Sunday mornings from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The church will also be used with administrative office hours on 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week, and on Wednesday nights for youth services from 5 to 9 p.m.

The River Valley Church has occupied the church space since 2010, when it purchased the property from the Mound Assembly of God. An increase in congregation size is cited for the main reason in building a brand new facility.

In a March 31 article in the Laker, the River Valley Church Pastor Brian Engl said the number of members who attend the church is as high as 230 people. The Minnetrista location of the River Valley Church is one of four different locations in Minnesota, with others being in Apple Valley, Faribault and Savage.