Prairie Village planning to approve purchase of Faith Lutheran Church for new city park Monday

Faith Lutheran Church at 67th and Roe.
Faith Lutheran Church at 67th and Roe.

Representatives of Faith Lutheran Church at 67th Street and Roe Avenue in Prairie Village in November accepted the city’s purchase offer of $1.1 million for the property, and on Monday the Prairie Village city council will be voting to make the agreement official.

The city and the church began talks about possible acquisition back in July after church leaders decided they would need to close the facility amid financial difficulties. The building has been listed at $1,950,000, but because the church is a non-profit organization, any proceeds from the sale would have to be donated to charity. Mayor Laura Wassmer lobbied in a letter to the church council to consider accepting an offer well below that asking price so that the city could turn the three-acre parcel into a new city park in its northern boundaries, an area that consultants have suggested is underserved by park land. The city’s initial offer to the Faith Lutheran Council over the summer was $875,000.

Should the city council approve the purchase agreement at its meeting on Monday, finances for the purchase will come from the city’s Economic Development Fund, which currently has approximately $1.9 million in it. The city would be required to make an earnest money deposit of $250,000 within seven days of the execution of the purchase agreement.

As part of the agreement, the city anticipates closing on the property no later than Oct. 31, 2017 with demolition expected to begin in November 2017. The city will also commit to spending up to $10,000 on an installation commemorating the church and congregation, which met on the site for nearly 60 years.

Prairie Village officials in recent years have made other overtures to acquire property in the northern part of the city for the creation of parks. It was in talks with Homestead Country Club in 2014 to purchase several acres of land fronting Mission Road for parkland, but terminated those discussions after determining that deed restrictions on the property would prevent it from being used as a park.