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Grand Rapids Urban Ministry’s Offer to Buy Paragon Bowling Center Accepted

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

paraBase Camp, an urban ministry for kids living in Grand Rapids, has had its offer accepted to purchase the Paragon Bowling Center at 2425 S. Division Ave. for $850,000.

Base Camp is a year-round program that addresses students' educational needs (which includes, but is not limited to, STEM education, literacy education and entry-level vocational training), as well as physical and spiritual needs through Bible studies and worship. Biblical instruction often is fastened with object lessons that keep children engaged, and make the messages relatable.

The ministry reaches out to kids living mainly in the Burton Heights and Roosevelt Park neighborhoods of Grand Rapids. The 30-year ministry has met in several buildings in the Southwest area of Grand Rapids; most recently Solomon's Porch Church in Jenison. It currently temporarily meets at Community Church on near the intersection of 28th St. & Buchanan in Wyoming.

Having a permanent home for the ministry in the area of the city where the kids actually live is something the Lord laid on her heart six months before the COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, said Kelly Ellis, executive director of Base Camp.

"I believe with all of my heart God spoke a specific word," said Ellis. "Every time I prayed or talked about it, I heard the Holy Spirit saying to me, 'Kelly it's time to bring the kids back home, home to where they play, where they go to school and where they live.'" Ellis said her ministry has until the end of February to raise the purchase price.

Renovations would then ensue to retrofit the bowling alley's interior into a recreation and education space, cafeteria, arts and crafts area and a worship center. Two of the 16 to 18 lanes would be kept intact. "There are kids from our ministry 30 years ago who bowled there," said Ellis. "Our plan is to pull the wood (from the bowling alley) and that be used as accent walls and tables. The Paragon has been in that neighborhood for decades and we don't want to lose site of what that meant to the neighborhood for years."
Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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