Church fighting Marietta over streetscape project

Updated:

The city has offered about $360,000 for the church's property which borders about two blocks of the project.

MARIETTA, Ga. - A passionate fight is brewing between a big church and the city of Marietta.

Marietta's streetscape project is pushing east. The brick sidewalks, old-fashioned street lights, a median and four lanes of traffic are all headed toward the Roswell Street Baptist Church.

Stakes show where the right of way would go for the project. It's within inches of the church's office building.

The city has offered about $360,000 for the church's property which borders about two blocks of the project.

"It's way too low. About a million off," said Dr. John Crooks, the church's administrator.

The city and the church have been negotiating for six years. Now the threat of condemnation has the church fighting with more force.

"You can see parking spots. There are 80 in question," Crooks said, showing Channel 2's John Bachman the space the church will be losing.

The church said because the city paid other businesses $15,000 per parking space, the price for its property should be at least $1.2 million.

"We want to be fairly and justly treated for parking spots," Crooks said. "Until recently, we thought that's what city was doing."

The city spokesman sent Bachman a statement saying, "The city has been working with the church to reach a mutually acceptable conclusion. We prefer not to condemn and hope to work out a value for the streetscape improvements that is fair to both the church and city."

"We feel like we've been discriminated against for whatever reason. It just doesn't make good sense for good neighbors to be fighting like this," Crooks said.

The church's pastor is scheduled to appeal to the Marietta City Council Wednesday night. The church is busing at least 100 members of its congregation to city hall for the 7 p.m. meeting.



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