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Habitat For Humanity To Use Former Tulsa Church Property To Renovate Neighborhood

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Seven or eight homes will be built on the property. Seven or eight homes will be built on the property.
Osage SkyNews 6 captured the flames, thought to be started by an arsonist, earlier this year. Osage SkyNews 6 captured the flames, thought to be started by an arsonist, earlier this year.
TULSA, Oklahoma - A torched and demolished church building is continuing to give -- even after its demise.

For years, the former Bowen Baptist Church sanctuary served as a spiritual home for many.

Within the next year the land will be repurposed into seven or eight Habitat for Humanity homes for Tulsa families.

Mangled metal and piles of brick sit where Bowen Baptist Church stood for 75 years.

2/20/2014 Related Story: Fire Investigators Believe Arson Cause Of Tulsa Church Building Fire

Its dwindling congregation led the building to close long before the fire in February.

Last week, the building finally came down.

In the church's final service, the few remaining members donated the land to Habitat for Humanity.

"So this will be a great opportunity to have seven, eight homes right side by side," Habitat’s director Paul Kent said.

The Crutchfield neighborhood is very familiar to Kent.

“When we build seven or eight more homes on this property, a tenth of the homes in this neighborhood will be Habitat homes,” he said.

Crutchfield Neighborhood Association President Tony Bluford says before Habitat began building homes here, the area was drug-riddled gang territory.

In the 80s, the neighborhood became the picture of rough-and-ragged life as a backdrop for the iconic Tulsa film "The Outsiders."

"We had a gang problem when Tulsa didn't have a gang problem,” he said. “We got the gangs out... tore down a lot of drug houses, a lot of meth houses and a lot of abandoned houses."

Bluford says everything changed -- and property values increased -- when Habitat moved in.

"Makes me real proud because Paul's done a lot for us and his organization has come in and helped us, like I said, a bunch,” Bluford said.

He says the new plan gives new life to Crutchfield.

"This is a win-win for everybody. Especially this neighborhood," he said.

Habitat for Humanity expects to have the family homes built within a year, and the organization is looking for sponsors, volunteers and families to move in.

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