Church seeks city approval for expansion project, involves closing down street

(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Columbus City Council approached Tuesday by members of St. Paul United Methodist Church, looking for the thumbs up to continue its expansion project.

The project, brought up during public agenda, would involve shutting traffic near the church; specifically, all car traffic going up or down Leonard Street.

The church's project committee wants to close Leonard Street to make a walking space and create a larger campus for the parish.

Church member Will Cliatt, one of those who spoke to the city council, said this project will address several needs for parishioners.

"We need a place for youth," he said. "We don't have a place where the youth can play. Now, they're in the fellowship hall, it's more formal, it's not really set up for youth activities," Cliatt said

Cliatt said the church's plan involves incorporating the parking lot, where they have an old, unused building, and build an outdoor space, where children can play and the congregation can host events.

News Leader 9 went out into the neighborhood to get people's thoughts and ran into one neighbor who goes to St. Paul's. James Capps said he believes the expansion is necessary, but he does have one concern.

"One concern is the cost of the things that need to be done. I know nothing comes cheap anymore, and we're just going to have to buckle down and take care of it the best way we can," Capps said.

Members of the project committee told News Leader 9 they're looking to raise $8.5 million in funds to both expand the campus and fix parts of the main building.

Both Capps and Cliatt said they're optimistic about raising the necessary funds to get the project going.

"The board will figure out a way for everything to be taken care of," Capps said. " April and May," Cliatt said, "We're going to our congregation, trying to raise our money. And we're in good shape, we think."

News Leader 9 talked to other neighbors who said they don't want to deal with more traffic, knowing students from Columbus High School already park their cars along the back roads.

Copyright 2017 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here