A new community center, City Station, is soon to be added to the Carrollton Community by the local Southern Hills Christian Church. The community center will be open to the public seven days a week and will offer many different resources for the citizens of Carrollton. These features include student housing, a fitness center, daycare, free Wi-Fi and much more.
“We decided about three years ago to move forward with the vision of City Station,” said Shannon Lovelady, lead pastor at Southern Hills. “The overall concept of using our facilities seven days a week has been something we have dreamed about for years, but the specific vision of City Station has transpired over the last three-and-a-half years.” Lovelady has been the lead pastor at Southern Hills for the past four years, so this is something he has been continually working on throughout his time here.
“We believe that ministry happens in community, so we have designed a building that is made for community,” said Lovelady. “Everything about City Station is multi-purpose, meaning we designed the building to be used by the community during the week and to be used for worship services by Southern Hills on Sunday mornings.”
City Station will be less than a mile from the University of West Georgia, near the Food Depot shopping center.
“There were two key factors (in finding the location),” said Lovelady. “First, we needed to be close to UWG for the student housing aspect of City Station to work. Second, we wanted to be on the Greenbelt so that we were truly accessible to the entire community.”
Lovelady mentioned that one of the most challenging aspects that he has faced thus far in the City Station project is helping the community understand that City Station will be so much more than just off-campus student housing. The housing is just one aspect of the many features the community center will offer.
According to Lovelady the housing will be first come, first serve. To be eligible to live in the off-campus housing students will be required to sign a covenant to live a Christian lifestyle. Lovelady mentioned that this included being in a discipling relationship with fellow Christian, serve the community, and be involved with a local church. If you are not willing to live by this covenant, then you will not be eligible to live in City Station.
City Station will also offer a state-of-the-art fitness center that will be included for the residents of city station, but will also be offered to the public for a reasonable price. Along with the fitness center City Station will include free Wi-Fi, state-licensed pre-school, recreation and study rooms, a gymnasium, free biblical counseling services and even a restaurant.
“It will be a restaurant exclusive to City Station,” said Lovelady. “We are actually in discussion now with potential local entrepreneurs. The main requirement of the restaurant will be that it is an affordable, healthier option.”
During this process of creating and building City Station the Southern Hills Church team has ventured across the country to find similar community centers to help them along the way.
Lovelady mentioned that there are similar facilities that the church has turned to and relied on for guidance. One facility is adjacent to Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN and is called Faith West. There is one other facility that Southern Hills has visited and turned to for advice is 242 Church in Michigan. They do not have the student housing that City Station will have, but the facilities are very similar in many ways.
Lovelady has hopes that City Station will help generate positive economic development in the Maple Street Commons area and the rest of Carrollton. He also mentioned that City Station and Southern Hills will aide in providing jobs for previously unemployable citizens of Carrollton. “It will help to give our neighbors an opportunity to get out of the negative circumstances in which they find themselves,” said Lovelady. “In short, I believe City Station will be a beacon of hope and unity for Carrollton.”
City Station is set to open in the late spring or early summer of 2018. The first set of students will be able to begin living in the community center in the fall of 2018. If you would like more information about City Station, please visit www.citystation.org.