TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s a staple in the Seminole Heights community, and now it’s coming down.
Crews are demolishing Seminole Heights Baptist Church on East Hillsborough Avenue, making way for an emergency room.
The church was built more than 70 years ago and is a piece of history in the county. The 40-foot steeple is a landmark in the area.
The church is being demolished following years of decline and a dwindling congregation.
HCA Healthcare bought the property. Director of Communications and Community Engagement for Memorial Hospital of Tampa Cindy Cucuz tells 8 On Your Side there are now plans to build a freestanding ER for Memorial Hospital of Tampa.
Ellie Baggett is the president of the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association. She says the community has mixed reviews.
“I think everyone has an opinion with what would fit best there, we all have the things we would love to see, I think healthcare is a priority this neighborhood is growing, we need a health center, but I can’t decide for the neighborhood what’s best, we have to make a choice as a group is this helpful or hurtful,” Baggett said. “We want to make sure it’s not too loud for the neighbors and we can have a great relationship with each other.”
People who live in this area just want what’s best for this community. Bryan Gallagher can see the steeple from his home and likes the idea of an ER in this neighborhood.
“There’s a lot of homeless in this area so I think if it was helping people who needed medical care who perhaps couldn’t afford it I think it could be very beneficial perhaps even more than a church,” Gallagher said.
“The steeple is of much interest to people in the community,” Cucuz adding, “We have been working with the community since late last year trying to relocate the spire of the steeple.”
Cucuz tells 8 On Your Side details are still being worked out.
“Everyone has their own view and it’s my job to advocate for everyone and make sure the neighbors who live next to it are taken care of and they can have an enjoyable life,” Baggett said.