Before Monday's Lubbock City Council Meeting, city leaders will decide whether or not to enforce eminent domain in order to expand 50th Street from Slide Road to West Loop 289. The expansion requires Faith Assembly of God Church to lose part of their sanctuary. The debate is over just how much will be lost, and the cost to replace it. Church leaders say it's been an ongoing process since February of 2005. City leaders offered $250,000 for the church's displacement. Later a court appointed commission ruled the displacement worth $510,000. The city appealed that decision, and the issue went to eminent domain proceedings. That's where city council members pick up Monday.
Pauline Ethridge has been a member of Faith Assembly of God for more than a year, and while that's not a long time, Ethridge says the church has already become home. "I'm so glad I found this place because it's been a God send to me. It's close to my home, and I can get out and go," said Ethridge. Monday marks an important day the church congregation; it could be the end to an almost year and a half long debate. "We appreciate our city leaders. We're not against city government by any means. This is the only recourse we had," said Pastor Terry Nesmith. City leaders say that to expand 50th Street, the church only has to take off the point of their sanctuary that houses their baptistery, but church leaders say that would put their sanctuary very close to a very busy road. They would like a 30-foot barrier, but that would take off about 30-feet of their sanctuary. Nesmith tells us the price to reconstruct that space is around $1-million.
"We just hope that they will use good wisdom and good judgement in making the decision," said Nesmith. "Come on and give us a good deal. That's what we need," said Ethridge. City leaders are unable to comment on this case due to the pending litigation. When we first told you about this story back in June, Mayor David Miller told us he felt the city offered the church a fair price. As you can imagine, church members say they're anxious to find out what happens Monday. NewsChannel 11 will continue to follow this case, and let folks know what happens.
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