GRAND CROSSING —Even with the Jewish holiday this week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel took part Friday in a groundbreaking for a new $26 million church on the South Side.
The Rev. John Hannah, pastor of New Life Covenant Church, 1021 E. 78th St., thanked the mayor and Aldermen Pat Dowell (3rd) and Michelle Harris (8th), whose ward includes the church, for helping him revitalize Grand Crossing. In addition to a new church for its 19,000 members, the church will build a $4 million child care center for children 5 and under.
"This will be more than a church and early learning center, but a place where the community can come for resources," Hannah said. "This blessing from God belongs to all of us."
The 100,0000-square foot church will be built at 7600 S. Greenwood Ave. and will be completed by December 2015. Across the street from the new church is a vacant factory that will be redeveloped into the 40,000-square-foot early learning center that will be completed by March.
"I cannot thank Pastor Hannah enough for the work he is doing in this community, especially with the early learning center that will prepare our children for kindergarten," Emanuel said. "There used to be a time when our kids only got a half-day of kindergarten, but now all kindergartens get a full day."
The church's youth center is now in Bronzeville, which is part of Dowell's ward, and upon completion of the church, the center will move to the old church building.
"Pastor Hannah is a prayer warrior, and whatever he wants to do to improve Grand Crossing I am with him 100 percent," said Harris. "I am proud to have his vision in my ward."
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