Church’s plans to expand bode well for E. Washington

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Tabernacle Christian Church’s proposal to build a new facility should sail through when it comes before City Council next month.

On Tuesday, the Suffolk Planning Commission approved a permit approving the downtown church’s proposal to build a 42,100-square-foot church near the intersection of East Washington Street and Carver Avenue. The new sanctuary will allow the 86-year-old church to seat 1,190 people, nearly double the capacity of the present congregation.

The facility will include a 1,000-square-foot playground, providing daycare for both seniors and children. The additional space will also allow the church to enhance its growing outreach program, according to the Rev. Carlton Upton, pastor.


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While all that is great news for the community’s spiritual growth and well-being, the new facility will also contribute to the incipient East Washington Street renaissance being undertaken by the city and the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority in the Fairgrounds area at the streets western edge. The two projects will provide great anchors on each end of the street that will, hopefully, prompt more investment and revitalization in between.

Public investment can go only so far and accomplish only so much. Ultimately, it will take private and institutional investment to make the entire corridor realize its potential.