St. Pete neighborhood fights to save historic church with 'heart bomb'

New city committee to prevent historic demolition
Posted at 2:30 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 16:54:15-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The city of St. Pete is just launching a new committee Thursday to look into preventing historic properties from being demolished. The city says the details are still being worked out, but they’d like to figure out a way to save neglected historic homes/churches/businesses before they face the wrecking ball. 

That’s exactly what neighbors in the Crescent Heights Neighborhood are fighting to save. The Church of the Beatitudes at 2812 8th Street N in St. Pete was recently bought by developers and will soon be turned into single family homes.

Neighbors are devastated and this upcoming weekend they will take action with something called a “heart bomb.” They plan to write love notes on large paper hearts and post them all over the church to show the community and developer how much the historic building means to them. 

The church was built in 1928. “The Church has been an important part of our neighborhood’s culture,” said Jennifer Wright, president of the Crescent Heights Neighborhood Association. “We want to show our love and gratitude for the structure and its role in our community.”

The American Baptist Church of the Beatitudes took over the church in 1961. The church’s pastor, Reverand Phillip Miller-Evans says he and the congregation had little choice. They are facing bankruptcy unless they sell the building. 

Miller-Evans and neighbors say they have been working closely with the developer, JMS Consulting and the company owner Jason Sanchez to preserve the historic sanctuary of the church.

Neighbors say they won’t believe it until they see it and they worry about the quaint sanctuary with its picturesque stained glass windows.

The Crescent Heights Neighborhood Association will meet at the church at 12:15 p.m. Saturday to "heart bomb" the outside of the church with handwritten love notes.

Wright scribbled three notes on pink and red construction paper Thursday reading “We love you”, “Save Me!” and “Thank you so much for 50 years.”

ABC Action News tried to reach JMS Consulting to find out when the demolition is set to take place and which portions of the Church of the Beatitudes will be saved, but we were unable to reach anyone for comment.

St. Pete hopes in the near future more historic homes and buildings will be preserved with the establishment of the new “demolition by neglect for historic properties” committee.