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Historic Church Renovated for New Headquarters for Great Lakes Clean Water

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And a new community space

Jefferson Church Michelle & Chris Gerard

Driving east on Jefferson, right across from Rose’s Fine Foods, you’ll notice a large church with a lot of activity around it these days. Great Lakes Clean Water, run by Chris Angel (get, Angel...), will be turning this church into their new headquarters and a community space.

The group, who works all over the Midwest, was looking for a new place to call home. Logistically, Lansing or Detroit made sense. The Jefferson Evangelical Lutheran Church, which had been empty for a couple years, spoke to Angel for a few reasons. It had great bones and visibility along Jefferson, it was stately, and it could serve as a great place for education and volunteers.

The main entrance for the headquarters will be on the side, which will lead into a reception area.

Jefferson Church Michelle & Chris Gerard

The doors and hardware are in pretty good shape. Many of the windows are also in decent shape, with some needing repair. Many of the windows have been painted shut, which Angel suggests could be a great volunteer opportunity (hint, hint).

The upstairs will have office space. The area will also be used for fundraisers and events and will eventually have a beam with glass sliding windows to preserve heat. This project is the first priority so it can be used within months.

The sanctuary will be turned into an multi-use space with sectionals and benches which can be rented out for events or used by community groups.

Jefferson Church Michelle & Chris Gerard

The roof has recently been completed, which was a very big project. Angel and his architects, Polyarch out of Clinton Township, are deciding what to do with the design inside. It may turn into more of an industrial look, with the high ceilings they have to work with.

Many of the side rooms need to be cleaned out, but are in fairly good shape otherwise. The basement will serve as a storage area for the Yellow Jug Old Drugs Program, where volunteers collect old medications that would have otherwise ended up in the water system. (Note: the jugs are stored there but there are never drugs in them. The drugs are immediately incinerated.) There are a number of small rooms downstairs that are also in good condition, but just need to be cleaned out. They’ll also be working to make the basement bathrooms ADA compliant in the near future

Outside, Angel would like to have areas of rocks with pieces of limestone and fossils that kids can pick up and learn about the connection between rocks, fossils, and water. With the focus on education, volunteerism, and the environment, this will be a meaningful space for the community.