Tracy Souza: North Christian landmark offers a mission to once again build community

The recent Easter weekend provided me, and many others, with a tangible reminder of what a special community we live in. I am talking specifically about the magnificence and beauty of the former North Christian Church property.

The flowering trees were in full bloom, and the daffodil beds created the perfect backdrop for a walk, a photo opportunity or a rest sitting in the car soaking up the landscape. I am a frequent visitor to the property in all kinds of weather, but over Easter weekend I was not alone. Many people were enjoying the flowers, trees and expansive grounds.

The church property is currently under the stewardship of Columbus Capital Foundation (a supporting foundation to Heritage Fund, city of Columbus and Bartholomew County) as it has been since Summer 2022 when the congregation donated it. Columbus Capital Foundation accepted the property in the hopes that the right owner could be identified to continue stewardship of this Historic National Landmark structure and grounds and carry on the inclusive tradition of the North Christian Church population and be broadly welcoming to the community.

At this writing, an excellent candidate has stepped forward to take on the property and the legacy. The Bartholomew County Public Library (BCPL) Board of Directors will decide in mid-April if it will accept this donation from Columbus Capital Foundation. BCPL has stepped up to a challenging vision to expand the definition of library to include providing opportunity to bring together and build community.

This transfer might be a game changer for BCPL, the property and for our community. We have been gifted an incredible architectural legacy that comes with challenges as building owners change and the needs of the community shift. Finding the right use for such an incredibly special property is not easy, and kudos to BCPL for taking time to study and consider assuming responsibility.

A final decision is yet to be made, and the two parties remain optimistic. But it dawned on me over Easter weekend that the community had already voted with its presence and obvious enjoyment of this unique landscape.