By Brian Johnson
Dolan Media Newswires
Minneapolis — Right now, it’s just a big cornfield on the eastern outskirts of the Twin Cities — and it probably will stay that way for at least another couple of years.
But if Valley Creek Church’s plans for the 20-acre property in Afton — just across the St. Croix River from Wisconsin — come to fruition, a house of worship will someday rise up on the land, providing a home for a congregation that now meets in a nearby junior high school.
A sign on the property lets passers-by know that the wind-swept site is the future campus of Valley Creek Church, which was started in 2001 by Pastor Trent Redmann and his wife, Melinda, as a church for “those who don’t like to go to church.”
“We would love to build our facility in that location two years from now,” said Redmann, senior pastor of Valley Creek Church. “We are in the process of growing as a church family and envision that it would be about two years until we are ready.”
The church, which has about 250 regular attendees, has a contract for deed on the land and is raising money for the approximately $3 million project, according to Redmann.
He said that while the church hasn’t settled on a design, members of the congregation have been talking with a number of architects, sharing their vision for a building that fits the needs of numerous young families.
“We are looking at a 30,000-square-foot facility that will be engaging for kids and adults,” he said. “We … value great music and having an experience with God that people will remember during the week.”
The project is in its early stages, however, and the church has not made a formal application to the city, according to Sara Irvine, assistant city administrator for the city of Afton.
“I really have not seen any plans,” Irvine said.
Churches are allowed in the zoning, she said. But one thing to keep in mind, she said, is that part of the property is in a flood plain, which could complicate plans for future construction.
Redmann said the church is aware of the flood-plain issue and has been working with a local hydrologist on soil investigation. Bottom line, church officials are confident that the issue won’t dampen their building plans.
If and when the new church opens, it will be good news for the backs of some church members who devote part of their Sunday each week to setting up worship space within Oak-Land Junior High in Lake Elmo.
Moreover, the new building will give Valley Creek more of a sense of permanence within the community.
“It is a lot of work to transform a school into a church each week,” Redmann said. “We have a great team that loves to do that. But it is helpful to know, have a place to point to, where our church will be.”