Akron church hoping to help improve neighborhood with playground and a lot of love

AKRON – It’s not unusual for those living off of Madison in Akron to hear sirens and see police cars.

“Over the past years we have had a lot of crime here,” said Pastor Vince Peterson. “Homicides, shootings, lots of violent, senseless crime.”

There are also many homes boarded up; however, after more than 94 years, the Providence Baptist Church still remains a big part of the community.

“So here at Providence Baptist Church we call ourselves the bad church, blessed and delivered,” Peterson said. “We believe in saving souls and that Jesus can change lives.”

And the pastor and members, including the youngest ones, want to bring a positive change to the neighborhood.

“You will not get bullied here,” said Nathan Edwards. “You will not get picked on; everyone is our friend here.”

The church members have already helped built a community garden and are now getting ready to build a playground.

“We plan to have the community help us build it,” Peterson said. “We need to have something for the kids here. There are no playgrounds around here.”

They have raised nearly all of the $35,000 needed to build the playground. A groundbreaking is planned for 1 p.m. Sunday.

“We want people to come out Sunday,” Peterson said. “This is for everyone in the community.”