WKYT - Lexington - Headlines

Church scrapping plans to buy former elementary school

By: Tamara Evans Email
By: Tamara Evans Email

A Lexington church has decided it will not buy a former elementary school.

Many people who live near the Julia R. Ewan school expressed opposition to having Vineyard Community Church occupy the building. Some even placed signs outside their homes saying "Say No to Vineyard".

In July, Vineyard Community Church announced plans to buy the school from Bill Meade, the current property owner, who purchased the school at a public auction last year.

Vineyard has a congregation of nearly 500 people. People who lived nearby said the property wouldn't be able to accommodate them.

"This church has grown from like 12 people to 500 people in about eight or nine years, and who's to say in another year or so it would go to 600 or 700," nearby homeowner Sophia Carey said. "We just can't accommodate that many cars in the neighborhood."

Vineyard Church held a private news conference late this afternoon to discuss their decision to not go through with the purchase. Those in the community opposing the the plan were kept outside.

After much debate a decision on the matter was finally reached after the church decided to walk away.

"We were shocked at the intensity at the opposition of the church being here," says attorney Bruce Simpson.

"We never thought this purchase would ever bring this level of controversy. We are extremely disappointed we didn't get a chance to move our congregation here," says pastor Kevin Clark.

It's an issue that is divided in the Fairway community, but for church members a move they still plan to make, only elsewhere.

"There is a place for us. There's a neighborhood that will welcome us with open arms and be thankful we are in their neighborhood," says Kevin Clark.

Late this afternoon, following the meeting, community members removed the signs from the Fairway neighborhood.

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