Church’s Future Uncertain After Lawsuit Settlement With City

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Citing eminent domain, the city of Springdale tried to take a local church's land last year for the Don Tyson Interchange Parkway project. A settlement was reached in part of that case last week, although the future of the church is still uncertain.

Initially offering nearly $74,700, the city council last week approved a motion instead giving Victory Church $238,667 for a piece of the church's land, city officials said.

"There were quite a bit of negotiations between the city's attorney and the church's attorney," said Springdale City Council Member Kathy Jaycox. "There were two or three settlements offered eventually to the council. The negotiations were completed last week, and the council accepted the final offer."

Jaycox was one of the city council members that voted yes on the final offer.

"They were completely displaced," said Jaycox. "Their entire congregation still has not found a place to rebuild. They couldn't take any part of their church with them, because of the condemnation precedents themselves. It was a fair thing in my opinion."

The battle is not over yet. The city is still trying to reach an agreement with the church on two other pieces of land for the interchange project, which would connect Don Tyson Parkway to Interstate-540. Jaycox hopes a settlement can be reached before a court date is needed.

"I hope not," said Jaycox. "Sometimes that happens though. Sometimes it has to reach that point before we can actually settle it."

In the meantime, the church still has not found a permanent location. Members were forced to leave the old location, condemned during the eminent domain process. With the lease on the church's new temporary facility expiring next month, Senior Pastor Billy Coffman is trying to figure out what to do next.

"We just do not know right now," said Coffman. "It's the first time in 40-something years of being in the ministry that I really don't know what to do next."

Coffman said finding a permanent location for their 400-member congregation has been difficult.

"If we could find an already-built facility that is in this vicinity, we would welcome that," said Coffman. "Our biggest problem is there is not anything like that for a church."

Coffman told 5NEWS the church has found a facility that might work, but there is not enough parking. He said that is a problem church leaderes are trying to fix.

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