New Northgate Church facility approved

After celebrating its second anniversary just a few months ago, Northgate Church is marking new.

The church received unanimous approval Oct. 23 from the Ramsey City Council for a site plan, final plat, conditional use permit (CUP) for a Northgate Performing Arts Center, which will be located west of the Allina Clinic on Sunwood Boulevard.

The church is hoping to break ground in April, said Rev. Wayne Skaff, who is leading the project.

The 15,242 square-foot center will include a 504-seat auditorium, two classrooms, a nursery and lobby area.

Rather than building a traditional church, Northgate wanted to build something the community could use as well, Skaff said.

In addition to being a worship center on Sundays and used for Wednesday night classes, the center could be used by PACT Charter School, for community theater, health seminars by Allina or a backup venue for Happy Days for musical acts if the weather is bad, he said.

The church is purchasing the approximately 1.3 acres from PSD, LLC.

Fund-raising for the new $3.2 million center started in January and the church has raised $1.5 million so far, Skaff said.

The church has a weekly attendance between 700-750 people. When it started in August 2010, Northgate had an attendance of 458 people.

The number of parking spaces proposed for the project caused some concern among the councilmembers.

The church will have approximately 108 parking spaces, including 40 off-street parking spaces, 25 on-street parking spaces and 43 parking spaces in an area designated for future expansion.

This church is one of the most successful startups in the city and if it continues to be plagued with success parking is a concern, said Councilmember Colin McGlone.

One of the things that concerns him is that the church plans a future expansion on land that will be used for parking now until the expansion happens, he said.

The church has several ways it can address the parking, including a parking ramp, underground parking or making parking agreements with neighboring entities, said Tim Gladhill, the city’s development services manager.

Any parking agreement will have be written and recorded and the two entities could not have the same hours of use, he said.

Councilmember Sarah Strommen asked that a condition be included in the CUP so the council can periodically review the parking situation.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]