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      Church parking lot takes care of blighted buildings

      Rhema Word Cathedral is looking to expand.

      And with that expansion, they are inadvertently helping the city with taking down two blighted buildings.

      Rhema Word Cathedral offers several ministries and outreach programs. What they don't have is enough parking space for their dedicated congregation. They applied to the Historic Preservation Commission and the City Commission to pave a parking lot in the area adjacent to their building on West Oglethorpe Boulevard.

      And this will be a landscaped, fenced parking area with landscaped islands and it'll be very attractive, says Rozanne Braswell with the Historic Preservation Commisison.

      The best part about this expansion is it will make way for the demolition of blighted properties"namely two empty duplexes. They have both become overgrown a burden to the city--furthering the city's dedication to rid the area of unseemly structures that can potentially be a haven for crime and drugs.

      The three and a half years I TMve been on the commission, we've tried to target the blighted properties and bulldoze the ones that couldn't be renovated, says City commissioner Roger Marietta.

      Helping not only the city as a whole, but those living around the area as well.

      The value of the property will be greatly improved with the landscaping and the parking lot for this church. It will really make that corner look very nice, says Braswell.

      I'm really excited about tearing down blighted properties and putting in something new, it's exciting, added Marietta.

      The city will give its final approval for the project next Tuesday.