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Historic Tampa Heights church fights off old age and demolition thanks to love by neighborhood

Faith Temple Baptist Church now community center
Posted: 12:58 AM, Jul 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-23 06:16:49-04
former Faith Temple Baptist Church in Tampa Heights

TAMPA, Fla. — It is almost 100 years old. Through the years, her supporters helped fight off fire, vandals and threats of demolition. And now the building has never looked better.

The former Faith Temple Baptist Church in Tampa Heights is a survivor. It is the red-brick heart of a history-rich neighborhood.

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After seven years of renovation from sponsors and volunteers, the building now houses the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association. The group turned the urban treasure into a true crown jewel.

The non-profit space can be rented for weddings, parties, meetings.

But the former church’s greatest function is as a youth development center offering free, year-long programs for area kids.

Threats still loom for the building.

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The property is owned by the Florida Department of Transportation. The agency could one day demolish the church to expand nearby I-275 as part of the Tampa Bay Next project.

Naya Young, executive director of the civic association, says this building, and this neighborhood, has the power to withstand anything.

“We’re a tough community,” Young says. “This building was here 100 years before, and we want it to be here 100 years after.”