Event Center Reviving 105 Years Of History

By: John Doetkott
(ABC 6 News) A church group in Austin is working to turn an historic site into a place of worship and community entertainment.0

Freedom Business Group Inc  bought the old El Parral ballroom and 1910 Restaurant last month and are renovating the space to become Austin's newest church and event center.

"It offers the community an alternative...to the bars and the dance halls and things like that," said Pastor Raymond Tuck. "This gives them wholesome entertainment that's family oriented and that is Christian-based."

The Freedom Event Center, as it will be known, will house a new coffee shop and host weddings, concerts, and other events geared toward the Christian faith.

The space is already being used for church services, and that tradition dates back to the early 1900s.

In 1906, an evangelist preacher named Billy Sunday built a large church on the site and held a four-week revival that drew thousands of people from around the area.

"For us, it's about reclaiming what God was doing in Austin," said Pastor Rory Synoground. "The foundation for a lot of the Christian churches was laid with this evangelist, Billy Sunday, who was a former baseball player."

"I heard stories of what that revival was like and so I wanted to relive it," Tuck said. "And since the churches doubled in size when he was here, I thought this would be a great place to start."

Those organizing the renovation said there's still a long way to go before everything will be the way they want it.

But they're working hard to bring both their message of faith and entertainment to the Austin community.

"The impact long-term for the city of Austin is they're going to have a great place to schedule their events, their meetings, their concerts," Synoground said. "It's going to be safe, it's family oriented, and we're here to be a blessing to the community."

Organizers are still working to raise money for the project.

They hope to have everything ready and open in time for a concert on June 25th.

You can learn more about the project on its gofundme site.

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