Church revives once-treasured Tampa park plagued by crime

A Tampa church is doing its part to curb gun violence by reclaiming a once beloved park. 

For years, crime took over Fremont Linear Park, but now, the non-profit and church REVIVE Tampa is inviting children and families back to help bring the community together.

"We have a heart for the community. God told us to move into this community, so if we're here we're going to serve it’s because that's what God calls us to do - to serve and so we just wanted to serve the community," REVIVE Tampa Campus Pastor Rahman Gathers said.

On Saturday, dozens of kids and families came together at Fremont Linear Park for a special community outreach and Back-To-School event put on by the church REVIVE Tampa. The non-profit wanted to invite families back to reclaim the park which in recent years has been more known for violence and drugs. 

In 2019, a young couple was gunned just steps from the park. It hit especially close to home for REVIVE Tampa Pastor Gathers who knew one of the victims.

Church revives Tampa park

"It hurt, and then, at that point, as I was praying, God told me to come over here and actually offer everybody my in the area where he got killed to come to church so the next day I did," Gathers said.

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It's that same feeling of inclusiveness and support that motivated Gathers to put together Saturday's event. Families enjoyed live music and free food from local food trucks as well as back-to-school resources and activities for kids and IT job training opportunities for parents.

Pastor speaks to crowd at Tampa park.

Going forward, Gathers is hoping more families take advantage of city resources and came back to enjoy the park. 

"It's just great to see people have that trust us like we're going to come out and see what they have to offer. And that's how we are always that we just come see where our hearts are for you," Gathers said.