By Pastor Larry, Victory of Lehigh Church
I have had the privilege of visiting 56 different countries, many of them multiple times. I have also lived in many different places in the United States. In Philadelphia, near Pittsburgh and many places in and around Southern California and in a few different foreign countries. But when I arrived in Lehigh Acres in 2004, I knew this was where I wanted to live the rest of my life. So for 18 years, Lehigh Acres has been my home, and I can honestly say I have no desire to live anywhere else. Now it’s not because of the abundance of Dollar Stores, gas stations, and auto parts stores that I like Lehigh so much, but because of the people that live here and the opportunities that I see here. Some of the nicest people I have ever met live in Lehigh. People from all types of backgrounds, races, ages and statuses of life. But all have a desire to make Lehigh Acres a better place to live and a community where you can raise your children and families.
I have been a pastor for many years in many different places, but seeing the kind of place that Lehigh Acres was and the opportunities here, I decided to start a church (Victory Church) in Lehigh 17 years ago. To say that the church has been a roaring success would be an understatement. God has done so many amazing things that it blows my mind. Countless people’s lives were changed by Jesus and people coming together to reach a community.
But one of the things that we noticed over the years was that Lehigh lacked a true center of town, a place where people could meet, and a community could be together. So we bought one piece of property right behind Burger King off of Homestead Road for our church. Then we bought another property and then the old Lehigh Movie theater to the point that we have 12 acres right in the heart of Lehigh. We felt that the community would greatly benefit from a place that could be a gathering place and a place where people could come for events to enjoy with their families. Instead of going all the way to Cape Coral, Fort Myers, or Naples, people that live in Lehigh could stay in Lehigh to enjoy themselves. So we started Victory Town Center.
Victory Town Center encompasses 12 acres right in the heart of Lehigh Acres. Located between the two main roadways of our town, Lee Blvd. and Homestead Road, Victory Town Center is easily accessible to all the residents of Lehigh Acres. At this current time, Victory Town Center has a variety of places of businesses and services. A Latin restaurant, a barber shop, a meat market and grocery store, a home builder, a daycare, a cafe/coffee shop (coming soon), a real estate office, an appliance store, a management company, a 350 seat conference center, and two non-profit organizations Lehigh Acres Christian School and Victory Church. With plenty of parking and easy access, Victory Town Center is a great place to shop and visit. But Victory Town Center is just getting started because most of the12 acres have not yet been developed, so plans are in the works to add many more businesses, services and open spaces for the whole community to enjoy.
One of the visions of Victory Town Center is to take a huge area in the middle of the complex and turn it into a multi-purpose family rec area with the centerpiece being an outdoor band shell theater so that community events can be hosted. Victory Town Center already hosts yearly events like the 4th of July Firework Celebration, New Year’s Eve, Easter, Fall Festival, car shows, conferences, and many other events. Other future plans for Victory Town Center are a possible hotel, ice cream shop, farmers market, other restaurants and other family-oriented businesses.
We saw the great opportunities that were available and we decided to help be a blessing to the amazing people of Lehigh Acres. We hope and pray others will also catch the vision for Lehigh to be a world-class place to live and a community to be proud of.