• $6M mega church to serve as Clermont rec center


    CLERMONT, Fla. - The city of Clermont said it has found the perfect new recreational center for the city -- a $6 million mega-church.

    A house of God may soon be the house of the people of Clermont.

    The Celebration of Praise Church has everything residents have been asking for all summer more recreational space.

    "They wanted a community theater, they wanted a performing arts center. Just stuff that residents can enjoy in their own community," Darren Gray said.

    Clermont city manager Darren Gray said the deal to purchase the land for $6.3 million came at the right time for a growing Clermont of 30,000 residents.

    "To give it back to the citizens of Clermont a unique opportunity that the city council wants us to at least explore," Gray said.

    Years ago, the church moved into the land which sits on U.S. 27, but the congregation can no longer afford it with millions of dollars in mortgage payments due.

    Doing the deal would help out the church administration, which said it is having trouble paying their bills.

    They have already sold-off part of their land and a piece of property to a developer building a senior living facility.

    The actual building at 67,000-square-feet is complete with amenities and more land is up for grabs.

    "If we went out (there) and had to build that facility today we would be paying more for a facility like that," Gray said.

    The almost 50-acre property has the largest auditorium in Lake County, an indoor gymnasium, an outdoor swimming pool and sits on another 30 acres of undeveloped land.

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    $6M mega church to serve as Clermont rec center