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Famed rooftop preacher now ready to hit the pavement

The Rev. Corey Brooks New Beginnings Church.

The Rev. Corey Brooks of New Beginnings Church.

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Updated: May 22, 2012 8:08AM

From rooftop to blacktop.

Rev. Corey Brooks, the South Side preacher who spent 94 days in a tent atop an abandoned motel to raise enough money to buy and tear down the eyesore, has come up with a new stunt : He’s planning to walk across America.

Brooks says he needs to raise $15 million to build a community center for the youth and families of Woodlawn and Englewood.

“I just want to help some kids and help a community get back on the right track,” said the irrepressible Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago, in the 6600 block of South Martin Luther King Drive. “If going through a little punishment will help the cause, then I don’t mind at all.”

Brooks says he plans to be on the road by June 5, starting in New York City’s Times Square and ending at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Brooks says he’ll sleep in his rooftop tent, and expects to complete his journey in 94 days, accompanied by two of his children — Desmond, 21, and Cobe, 11.

“We’re going to meet a lot of people along the way,” Brooks said. “We’ve got people who’ve been calling us already, trying to figure out how they can participate.”

Brooks took up his post atop the former motel, saying he wouldn’t come down until he’d raised enough money to buy and tear down the property — a place he’d called a hotbed of drugs and prostitution.

The movie mogul Tyler Perry came to Brooks’ aid earlier this year, donating the final $98,000 to the cause, which allowed Brooks to finally come down from the roof.

Brooks plans to announce more details about his cross-country trek Sunday during a 10 a.m. worship service at New Beginnings Church.

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