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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Minister tries to block S. Ind. church demolition

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A minister has refused to leave his church in a city-owned building so it can be demolished for a street to be widened.

The Rev. Charles T. Goodin says God wants him to stay.

“I won’t disobey God,” Goodin told The Republic. “Whatever it comes to, I guess that’s what I’ll need to do.”

Goodin has paid the city $150 a month for 31 years to use the building on the southern Indiana community’s east side for The Upper Room Full Gospel Tabernacle’s 12- to 15-member congregation.

It isn’t clear how the city came to own the building. Mayor Fred Armstrong said he believed the city bought it for a previous road project and didn’t sell it because officials knew it someday would be necessary to widen 17th Street, which passes by the building.

Armstrong wants the building vacated by April 27 so work on widening the street can start as scheduled in the city about 40 miles south of Indianapolis. If Goodin hasn’t left by then, the mayor will have to decide what to do about it.

“It makes me feel badly for him and his members,” Armstrong said. “And that’s why we’re giving him plenty of time.”

City Engineer Steve Ruble expects utility work to start this spring, followed by the street widening six months later. The $3.5 million project is being paid for with federal stimulus money, and the exact start date depends on when the Indiana Department of Transportation releases the funds.

Goodin said the church will likely be without a home if it is forced out because it could not afford to pay a higher rent elsewhere.

Armstrong said he didn’t know what it would take to make Goodin leave, but he won’t be allowed to stand in the project’s way.

“I believe in the Bible, too,” Armstrong said. “A man of God is supposed to obey the laws.”

Information from: The Republic, http://www.therepublic.com/

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