Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hallelujiah ... Pass the Tylenol.

During my daily bike trip/death wish from my S.H. home to my downtown workplace, I noticed a sign being put up on the long vacant building at the northeast corner of Highland Ave. and MLK. The new use for the old Babylon gay and lesbian night club (and previously Tampa's original Carmine's Restaurant) is ... [pause for suspense] ....

A church.

Surprised? The sign was in spanish, which I can't read, so I don't know the name. All I remember is "Episcopal."

Personally, I think this is just in time, since I notice a shortage of churches in the area. (Yes, that's sarcasm.)

Do you have an opinion, positive or not, on the high concentration of churches in S.H.?

18 comments:

Preson said...

What is the overall negative comment that you are insinuating? You don't need to mask it, just say it.

IFly said...

Torgo,
I believe it to be indicative of one of two problems. The faithful and their money are soon parted so proclaiming oneself a minister and starting a church is a sure way to (sl)easy money.
It's also possible that it exemplifies the splintering of the faithful. All too often I've seen churches fragment over internal politics and in some cases, the outcasts start their own flock. I have no problem with the faithful, but when you have such a concentration of small storefront churches in an area, it effectively amounts to competing with each other for souls. Problem is, it's not a competition, and they're not getting more tickets to God's raffle for each convert. They must be competing for tithes, or they're competing for their own egos. Not a positive thing either way if you ask me. Seems to me God, and the truth of His word should either be more universal or entirely personal. All these piecemeal denominations lead to confusion, doubt and the appearance of impropriety. None of which can be pleasing to Him.
From a "business" standpoint, each chapel requires it's own set of utilities, rent/mortgage, and other financial costs. Seems that if the motives were pure, the faithful could put that money toward more good causes if they consolidated instead of fragmented.

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Torgo said...

iFly - Wow. That's pretty insightful stuff. And I appreciate you offering input as opposed to the other entry offering conspiracy.

After thinking about this over night I think my immediate peeve was, even though some churches (large and small) look great and are ran by good people - the majority of churches in the neighborhood add to blight. One example, De La Saron on Florida Ave. next to Forever Beautiful. They have a semi-truck parked in their back yard. Not sure what that has to do with a church, but it's been there for weeks. My guess is it's cheaper to pay $450 rent a month to park it on the CI property than at a storage facility -- and heck, might as well start a church and make a few bucks -- ala L. Ron Hubbard.

That aside, despite the horrific drivers, I love to drive and ride my bike up and down Florida and Nebraska and take in the sights and people; however I must report (this is a fact, not conjecture) that the overwhelming majority of churches don’t even receive simple maintenance and are only hurting the community.

This isn’t exclusive to churches, of course. S.H.I.P. shares a common hypocrisy with them. All say they want to better the community; but then act (or don’t) to bring it and it’s people down. Sometimes by neglecting maintenance; sometimes, as in SHIP's case, by completely ignoring the “no chain link fence” code because our neighborhood (to them) is "already ugly anyhow."

I could go on, like how the owner of the old theatre/now church on Florida Ave. can't improve it but refuses to sell it because it's a legacy of her father. I certainly believe he was a great man who cared about the community and its people, which makes it real hard for me to believe he’d want his legacy to be the rotting eyesore it is, instead of a core for driver for helping to revitalize the neighborhood.

Bizarre. But I digress … It’s just an opinion. I’m sure there’s concurrent and opposite out there. I’d love to hear them.

IFly said...

Torgo,
Just think, if this discussion goes much further, the paper's going to declare that Seminole Heights hates God.

Torgo said...

That's funny! Better knock on wood.

I thought the same thing, but didn't want to tempt fate.

Mal Carne said...

That was my though, too. Beat me to the punch.

Let's make them think that we hate god even more; god doesn't pay taxes. The sheer number of untaxed commercial church properties in this area could have saved a city job or two from Iorio's axe.

Iorio's will be done. But we WILL have our riverwalk.

Torgo said...

Must be two signs for that new church (ironically located in an old gay and lesbian bar, which most churches teach against). I saw the english sign yesterday. It said something like "Family of Faith" coming soon.

How nice it would have been if they would have stuck a Carmine's back into it's original location.

Sigh ...

Danny Schaffner, Jr. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danny Schaffner, Jr. said...

Just wanted you to know there is another church coming to Seminole Heights as well. We have been rehabbing the old Central Christian Church building. We have been working on a web site too - http://www.commongroundtampa.com

We'd love to connect with you all as well through life, blogging, whatever....

Jeff said...

Religious Groups/Non-profits pay no property tax, therefore they can sit on huge chunks of property and wait for the "right sale" while extending no effort to improve the surrounding area. Even in the case of Crossroads owning the Log Cabins, they paid no property tax (a 6 to 7K advantage) although they ostensively owned the property "for profit".

In my book, no business/church should be totally exempt from property tax. They should pay a minimum fee associated with police and road maintenance costs and only for a true non-profit use.

Jeff Harmon

Vanessa said...

I grew up in Seminole Heights. I lived on Frierson and then on 13th Street for about 14 years. I seem to remember lots of people who didn't hate God. They didn't try to shove it down your throat either. What is the deal here? Are churches a bad thing? Would you rather a pawn shop?

Torgo said...

Wow. I was about to be disappointed, 'cause it took a month, but we finally got the "you hate God" comment. My patience is rewarded ...

It sure is convenient to skip over how many of the area's churches are huge eyesores for lack of care and maintenance -- like De La Saron on Florida Ave. with a semi-truck parked in its backyard and a "stop work order" from code still plastered on their front window from many months ago.

The blight issue is the true and factual spirit (no pun intended) of this entry and its replies ...

But to answer your question, "yes" I'd rather a pawn shop if they kept their place clean and weren't using God's name to skip taxes and make a profit on real estate.

You can also build a community serving wine shop (e.g., Cork 'n Olive) or bar and grill-type restaurant next to a pawn shop. You can't with a church ...

Vanessa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vanessa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vanessa said...

Please re-read my question in the context. I was trying to paraphrase what "ifly" was saying, and I was saying that Seminole Heights is a place where people DON'T hate God, last time I checked. In fact, I find that most SHers have always been very tolerant. My experiences in SH over many years were of people whose m.o. was to let other people alone as long as they kept up their property and did not bother you. My question was just that: a question, not meant to be sarcastic or inflammatory, and I am sorry if you took it that way. I did not understand that so-called churches had become a problem, nor did I know that certain things, like wine shops cannot be built next to them. I suppose that a shady operation that keeps its property in a sorry state would be a problem, and I did not know how much of a problem it had become until I drove over to that Rosa de Saron church yesterday to look for myself. My question was only a question, not an indictment.

Torgo said...

Sorry if I misinterpreted your comments, Vanessa. I guess since we are so often attacked on the blog for just trying to better our community, it becomes second nature to be on the defensive.

PS - Good post on the Hutto's entry.

Vanessa said...

Thank you. I love Seminole Heights, and I get kind of sentimental about it, and I realize how I might have come off before. My Grandma was Kathryn Malone, and she poured a lot of herself into the Civic Association. I am sure that if she were alive today, she would be so pleased with how the neighborhood is looking. All of us lived there through "urban renewal," white flight, hookers, cars parked on lawns full of sandspurs and yards full of junk and dogs on chains. It does my heart a world of good to see it so loved and cared for now! If I lived in Florida, I would surely buy a home in my old neighborhood. This blog is awesome, by the way!