Case Study: Place Making: Elizabeth Baptist Church

Elizabeth Baptist Church, a pillar of the Hyacinth neighborhood on Cleveland’s east side, has ministered to the spiritual and physical needs of its congregation for nearly a century. Under the steadfast leadership of Pastor Richard Gibson, the church provides amazing outreach and restorative work in the community it serves. The Church offers a wide range of ministries at its large campus, including a family shelter, food pantry, health center, prison ministry, free clothing store, and a variety of youth programs.

In 2015, Church leaders approached the Cuyahoga Land Bank seeking assistance in dealing with numerous blighted vacant and abandoned properties surrounding the church campus. Through persistent collaborative work with church leaders, the Cuyahoga Land Bank helped stabilize the Church’s environment through strategic acquisition and demolition of several surrounding vacant structures, relieving the neighborhood of criminal hide-outs and unsightly dangerous buildings. The Church is now transforming these lots into landscaped greenspace, community gardens, and recreation and public space for congregational needs, giving a fresh new look to this historic block.

“The Cuyahoga Land Bank serves as one of the most critical catalysts for the continued revitalization of the Greater Cleveland area,” says Pastor Gibson. “The Cuyahoga Land Bank rebuilds communities through blight elimination and collaborative planning with neighborhood residents and stakeholders. Proactive decisions taken by the Cuyahoga Land Bank are helping transform the streets surrounding our very active campus. The Cuyahoga Land Bank continues to be an invaluable resource.”

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