WAITE PARK -- A vacant Waite Park church may soon have new life.

Higher Ground Church of God in Christ inquired about the property this summer when their current facility was too small for their growing congregation.

Pastor James Alberts says the church would be a great place to continue their call to service.

"I've been in the area for some time and I have seen the building from the outside but never knew what was on the inside and my first time coming in here I could see the potential," says Alberts.

In 2013 the abandoned church, at 523 2nd Street North, was bought by a group in hopes to turn it into a Christian youth center. However, concerns from the planning commission never allowed the youth center to take off.

"The previous owners did run into some issues, some of their requests were too open ended. So they opted to not pursue their request and sold the building to another owner," says Waite Park Planning and Community Director Jon Noerenberg.

Noerenberg says because the church is in a residential area a Conditional Use Permit is needed and the previous concerns on parking and building codes need to be addressed.

"The applicant does have a parking agreement worked out with the District 742 property a block away and they are willing to coordinate with our building officials working out agreements and having a timeline for things," says Noerenberg.

A public hearing will be held Tuesday (February 9th) by the planning commission to look to approve the CUP request. If it passes the request would then be brought before the council in March.

Alberts says if all goes well they hope to have their first service in the church Easter Sunday.

The public hearing will be held at Waite Park city hall at 6:30 p.m.

This vacant church may soon have new life. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)