About Us

This project is designed to understand the community's needs in an effort to develop a reuse vision for this historic building.

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In 2016,  a group of partners and neighbors, informally known as the Walnut Neighborhood Development Coalition, began to meet and focus on housing, neighbor engagement, and holistic development of this vital neighborhood that sits next to Waterloo's downtown district. 

Fearing the continued deterioration of the church, Habitat for Humanity, one of the Walnut Neighborhood Development Coalition partners, purchased the historic and vacant Walnut St. Baptist Church on behalf of the coalition. The sentiment of the coalition, echoed by so many voices across our community, is that the architecture of the Walnut St. Baptist Church is iconic to Waterloo and important to Iowa. It is a significant resource in the unique story and landscape of the city's history and its future.

A planning team was formed with representatives from the Walnut Neighborhood Development Coalition, the University of Northern Iowa, the Institute for Decision Making, a community consultant, and other active community members. This team is embarking on a process to develop an Adaptive Reuse Vision and Plan that engages multiple community stakeholders to 

  1. Understand the needs and desires of the neighborhood and surrounding community

  2. Explore the feasibility of addressing needs and desires through the reuse of the Walnut Street Baptist Church.

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The Process
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Getting Organized

  • Planning Team

  • Community Consultant

  • Student Researcher

Jan. - Mar.

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Research of Best Practices

  • Creative Reuses

  • Public University Involvement

  • Funding Models

  • Ownership/ Management Models

Jan. - May

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Community Outreach & Input

  • ID Audiences 

  • Planning for Outreach

  • Conduct Outreach Activities

  • Organize, analyze, document input

Apr. - July

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Initial Draft Development

  • Draft Adaptive Reuse Vision & Plan

June - Aug.

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Community Feedback

  • Presentations to:

    • Audiences​

    • Potential Implementers

    • Potential Funders

Sept. - Oct.

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Final Plan & Implementation Launch

  • Incorporate Feedback

  • Adoption as needed

  • Passionate Guiding "Board"

Oct. - Dec.