Occupy Atlanta saves Vine City church from eviction

BB&T bank backs off threats it would boot Higher Ground Empowerment Center

Occupy Atlanta just announced via Facebook that the group saved a 108-year-old Vine City church — the Higher Ground Empowerment Center — from being evicted.

EGEC, located on Spencer Street, was being faced with eviction for, apparently, defaulting on a loan that was taken out to perform necessary repairs after the ‘08 tornado that devastated Vine City.

“After several hours of negotiations with between BB&T Bank, Occupy Atlanta, HGEC, and Joe Beasly with Rainbow PUSH,” the press release says, “we have a deal that HGEC can more than live with. HGEC is going nowhere. Not only did they get the deed to their land back, they have been given back the nine lots surrounding the Church for development, and a commitment from BB&T to meet again within 30 days to discuss ways they can justly invest in the Vine City Community.”

In a video that was posted to You Tube on Saturday, Pastor Dexter Johnson explained that his church offered to pay BB&T $200,000 of the $600,000 loan, and then to work out a plan to repay the remaining $400,000. The bank wasn’t responsive until Occupy Atlanta got involved.

“We’re fighting not for brick and mortar,” Johnson said, “We’re fighting for a 108-year-old legacy.”

The occupation lasted about 12 hours.