Apparently, the possibility of ASU's buying First Baptist Church is back in play, and our informants say it is deeply dividing the congregation. No surprise that. The same deal was on the table last year, with one strong group of members wanting to take the university's money and run to the suburbs (keeping up with the Methodists?). The deal to sell out to ASU was scuttled when word of it leaked prematurely.
We'd hate to see the Baptists go. They're the last congregation downtown on King Street, an institutional anchor that is much more than mere bricks & mortar. Even more, we'd hate to see the university gobble up another significant chunk of our little town.
If they must leave city center, we wish the congregation could find a good private developer committed to the sort of mixed-use development -- commercial plus residential -- that is beginning to be seen and which is an economic boon to Small Town, U.S.A.