By Wyatt Goolsby
A local church didn't have to move Heaven and Earth to expand. They just received approval from the Midland City Council. Now they will be moving onto part of M street, which means traffic will also have to move.
"Well, we are very excited and very pleased of course, that the Council heard our petition and voted in favor of it," said Monsignor Larry Droll.
That's how Droll, the pastor of Saint Ann's Catholic Church on Illinois, feels after getting approval to expand onto the section on M street between Texas and Illinois.
"It would allow us to develop more classroom space, more easy access for pedestrians and so forth. In terms of safety, we have 350 school children at St. Ann's school who cross this street from time to time," explained Droll. "So it will be a safer place for all."
The church had tried to acquire this section of M street back in January, but the proposal was rejected by the City Council. Tuesday, though, the Church presented a new proposal, and it got approved.
One of the biggest concerns raised by folks in the neighborhood on Illinois is handling all of that daily traffic flow. But officials said the newly approved proposal deals with that issue.
"We engaged a traffic engineer to study the situation. And he recommended, that the parallel street, which is the 200 block of north L street be changed from one way going south, to a two way street," said Droll.
And that was a good idea according to City Councilman Scott Dufford.
"By making it two-way street, we alleviated what I felt like was kind of the sticking point the last time. You know, being able to have access to, basically, the north side of town," said Dufford.
But does a church or other organization just have the right to buy a part of city property?
"Really, we've done it quite a few places that we've actually closed streets, to accommodate campuses, whether it's church campuses, school campuses, or the hospital campus. I mean, this isn't, something that's new. We just, we're helping out our neighbors and trying to accommodate the growth of the city at the same time," explained Dufford.