DES MOINES, Iowa — City leaders are moving ahead with plans to tear down a historic church in Des Moines.
Fire gutted the Lighthouse Full Gospel Baptist Church at 1600 Capitol Ave in August 2012. For nearly two years, the burned out building has sat empty and become an eyesore in the neighborhood.
“Like the poor thing died and we just haven’t got around to burying her,” says Lia Miller, President of the Capitol East Neighborhood Association.
The city of Des Moines has set aside $300,000 to buy, demolish and redevelop the property. Leaders are working with the Neighborhood Development Corporation to build single-family homes where the church now stands.
“It’s time to get it cleaned up. Neighbors have looked at it long enough,” says Des Moines Councilman Joe Gatto.
Church owner David Reasby agrees that it’s time to move on. He bought the church 25 years ago and during that time, served hot meals and counseled people in the neighborhood.
“The church was kind of like my child,” says Reasby.
The fire that burned the church was intentionally set. Last year, a Polk County jury convicted James Galbo of 1st degree arson.