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The Minnesota Daily

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Como community center undergoing renovations

After several years of yearning for the preservation of the Como Congregational Church and Community Center, the Como neighborhood group took action themselves.
Image by CJ Bonk
There is no publicly released date yet for when renovations will be complete.

Como community members started several renovation projects to restore and preserve the historic Como Community Center (CCC) in October 2022. Located on 1037 14th Ave. SE, the building was built in 1886 and originally served as a neighborhood assembly hall.

The renovations to the building include restoring the auditorium and several living and rental spaces and installing a concrete walkway and a new driveway that are both accessible.

The focus of the restoration project is based on the previous functionality of the building as a church during its prime in the 1920s, overall hoping to restore its former image with a new purpose as a community-based entity.

The estimated date for renovations to be completed has not been released.

An outside developer pushed for the building to be demolished in 2020 due to its old age and several years of vacancy. However, after 14 years of unsuccessful attempts to buy the building from the City of Minneapolis, the CCC team took ownership of the building in December 2021.

The CCC team was founded in 2004 by a group of people living in the neighborhood who decided they wanted to restore the building due to its historical value, according to CCC member Larry Crawford.

Crawford said the renovations will bring vitality to Como and give residents a space where they can get to know each other.

“There’s the community service side of it, which is to have it operate again as a community center with events like public meetings, educational events, cultural events and so on,” Crawford said. “It will also continue to have religious services on the weekends by rental along with all the other rental uses for different organizations.”

The building is divided into several units, with an auditorium in the front of the building and several smaller areas in the rear that were added around 1920.

DeWayne Townsend, a Southeast Como Improvement Association member, said the center will become a nonprofit that he hopes neighborhood organizations will find useful.

“It’s a nice way to preserve a historic building and find a use for it,” Townsend said. “It meets the needs of both students for housing, but also provides a unique gathering space. There isn’t an abundance of these small little venues.”

Elizabeth Yang is a first-year University of Minnesota student who frequents the Como area.

“The community center and the congregational building renovations [are] something I’m looking forward to,” Yang said. “They are restoring historic land, which I like because I can see how it originally was in the 1920s. I can’t wait to see what they’ll be doing.”

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