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January 31, 2023

Grassroots approach to new community church lot

WATSONVILLE—The First Baptist Church on Madison Street has a new parking lot, complete with state-of-the-art, dimmable lights. The project came thanks to efforts of church members.

Pastor Jeff Eitzen said the new lot, with 49 spaces, two of which are handicap spots, was built on an empty lot that was a patch-job of different asphalt layers from over the years and was in need of repair.

Thanks to a crew from Coastal Paving, the freshly-striped lot features two light standards that are equipped with dimmable lights.

Eitzen said the church is working with the community to offer free parking permits to neighbors to help incorporate the neighborhood into the church community.

“We fundraised about half of the money and the rest was matched from monies we have saved over the years,” Eitzen said.

The church currently has about 120 members and was founded in 1914. Their original location was next door, at 642 Lincoln St., a building that has since been transformed into a string of apartments.

“We love people and we learn to love God,” Eitzen said. “We want to continue to be a part of this community and stay connected.”

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.

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