Walnut Ridge Baptist Church plans move to new building, site plan change coming to council

WATERLOO — A church with a long history in Waterloo will move to its third building in the life of its congregation if the city approves a site plan amendment.

Walnut Ridge Baptist Church is planning to move to the former Grainger Industries building at 827 Fisher Drive. The church has been in its current location at 1307 Ridgeway Ave. since 1971. It previously occupied the Walnut Street Baptist Church building beginning in 1896.

Grainger to move into Country Club Business Park

The Grainger Industries building on Fisher Drive in Waterloo.  

The City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday and will have a public hearing on whether to allow the church to convert the former Grainger building into a religious facility.

Walnut Ridge is moving to the vacant industrial building to better accommodate its average congregation of 130 people, said Tom Hlad, senior pastor. The Ridgeway Avenue building is 85,000 square feet – and is shared with Waterloo Christian School – while the Grainger building is 40,000 square feet. There are no plans to change the footprint of the building.

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Walnut Ridge Baptist Church has been at 1307 Ridgeway Ave. since 1971.   

The current church building is on the market for $4.3 million. The church paid $2.8 million for the Grainger building, according to Hlad. There is no information on what Waterloo Christian School plans to do with the building or school.

In other business, the council could amend its sewer rates and charges ordinance. City documents state the average residential user cost will rise by $1.81 per month, while the minimum quarterly charge will rise by $3.01.

Rate increases are required to comply with regulatory requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency and Iowa Department of Natural Resources, according to the document.

In other business the council will consider approving:

  • Rezoning the former St. John School and Church, 1721-1729 Mulberry St., to convert into residential units, a day care and community center.
  • A site plan amendment to construct a 223,148 square foot office and warehouse for Ryan Companies located east of 3280 Newell St.
  • Awarding a bid for asbestos abatement at the former St. Mary’s Villa, 123 E. Parker St.
  • A development and minimum assessment agreement with FDP OC LLC for turning the former Courier building, 503 Commercial St., into apartment units and a retail storefront for $7.5 million.
  • Renaming Penneys Street, between East San Marnan Drive and Crossroads Boulevard, to Gina Boulevard.
  • The appointment of Robert Duncan to the position of police chief and the conclusion of employment for former police Chief Joe Leibold, including a payout of $38,008 for unused benefits.

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