Press Release from the News-Banner
By: JIM BARBIERI
A former leading Bluffton shopping zone that fell on tough times, not really of its own making, is getting a revival. An uplift! A church! It is the 1300 block of South Main St. (Ind. 1) on the east side of the street.
Back about 1960 it was launched as the location of the then-new Ludwig’s Supermarket, later to pass through other food store ventures including Shurway and another Ludwig outlet. It had been bypassed in the early half of the 1980s when Scott’s Supermarket arrived a ways farther to the south and in the later 1980s when the Harrison Plaza shopping mall was built onto the Scott site. County Post was to give that 1300 block a real rejuvenation thereafter. But the thriving County Post at 1325 South Main was replaced by a larger version of the farm store firm in the north part of Bluffton and that Quality Farm store was closed with a bunch of others elsewhere in a buyout by a still larger firm.
Next to the ex-County Post facility, Dollar General has given the sector an anchor as the second Bluffton outlet for that company, which also has the former G. C.Murphy Store location in the heart of Bluffton’s downtown. The large parking lot and some of the structures have been showing more signs of limited or fading upkeep in the reduced role from the busier age -- a problem openly recognized by the city leadership in making the south end of Bluffton an economic revitalization area for maximum assistance potentials.
The bright new development, however, is that the Abundant Life Christian Center, now utilizing space in the Youth For Christ building in the north part of Bluffton, has purchased the Bluffton south-end 6 1/2-acre property that includes the shopping lot’s 3.5 acres and another 3 acres to the rear.
Scott Ochsner, the church pastor, accompanied by Assistant Pastor Merlin Troyer, related that the church plans to spruce up the entire property including the parking lot itself and the ex-County Post Building, which will be converted to a church facility, one that Pastor Ochsner said will have an appealing appearance.
Dollar General will be staying. Ochsner said Dollar General has taken another five-year lease. The pastor further explained that with the large amount of green space behind the plaza, there will be ample space for church outdoor activities for youths and others.
In addition, the fenced area next to the ex-County Post that formerly allowed storage of various products and services, now is figured to be a site for basketball goals and children's playground equipment at the church. Pastor Ochsner related that the action in view over the period just ahead will include power washing and building repairs.
He said church members, numbering over 100 will do a good part of the work and some tasks will be hired, amid total investment in the range of $100,000 foreseen. Expected is having a grand opening in six to eight weeks, later estimated to be about mid-July.
Ochsner and Troyer indicated receiving encouragement from Mayor Ted Ellis for the south end improvement. Still-successful business people in the south part of the city also gave encouragement, and some told the News-Banner that the project is bound to make the area more appealing in appearance and use.
Copyright 2006-2010 Abundant Life Christian Center
1409 S Main St., Bluffton IN 46714 260.824.2000