East Side Story - A Testament to Vision

September 14, 2017

Over the next few weeks, several Elmhurst CRC staff members will be writing in this blog about new beginnings happening around church this fall. First up, our Executive Director of Operations, Jack Lanenga, tells our community’s “East Side Story...” Pastor Gregg

It all began in 2008 when the property to the east of the new Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church (ECRC) building became available. A group of thirteen business people associated with ECRC, Timothy Christian Schools, or both purchased the property with the vision that it would be available if needed for either ministry.

After a few years, it became apparent that Timothy was going a different direction, and ECRC didn’t need five acres. So in 2015 the south two-thirds of the property was sold to Artis Senior Living (Artis), a group building and operating memory care facilities throughout the Chicago area. The northern third of the property became a shared retention pond and a planned 105-space parking lot for ECRC. Keeping with the vision of making the property available for ministry, most of the property for the pond and the parking lot was donated to the church. The contract with Artis also called for Artis to pay for much of the infrastructure work, including the initial site work, the entire pond, and the storm sewer system of the parking lot.

Parking lot construction began in October 2015. To give us the best possible pricing, we used the same general contractor as Artis. The pricing was excellent, but we were tied to the memory care facility’s timeline. As a result, their delays became our delays, and their delays were numerous! On the positive side, they kept us informed all along the way, so, while the delays were frustrating, they were also understandable. As of two weeks ago, the blacktop and curbs are completed. We expect landscaping to begin next week, power to the lights the following week, and then new fencing around the garbage and generator areas by the end of September.

Thanks to the generosity and vision of thirteen folks who have the gift of long-range thinking, we now have an additional 105 parking spaces! What might be the implications?

· The east side of our building has been under-utilized for nine years, and it is beautiful! Opening the new lot will bring attention to this area so people can enjoy it.
· Major events we host here--such as Spirito, Timothy Christian Schools, and Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra concerts; Christmas and Easter services; and the Victorious Women Conference--will now have plenty of parking.
· The staff, elders, deacons, and Senior Leadership Team members who have been parking at Park Place on Sunday mornings can park on campus again.
· The 10:15-10:40 a.m. pre-church service hunt for parking spots will be over.
· The parking lot can be used for activities for Cadets, Gems, Pathfinders, etc. In fact, this started four days after the lot was completed.
· In addition to the parking lot, we will also increase our green space. We can use this to play bags, badminton, and tug-of-war, for Spring Hill Camp activities, and for anything else our creative leaders can come up with.

In addition to being a huge blessing for ECRC, the use of the full five-plus acres means that the development of the south side of Elmhurst is complete. The next challenge is for us to focus on some different forms of building: inward spiritual growth, reaching out to our new neighbors and our Elmhurst community, and strengthening relationships across generational lines.

Further questions about the parking lot? Click here for a link to frequently asked questions.

~Jack Lanenga

Jack Lanenga has been the Executive Director of Operations at ECRC since July, 2011.

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