By Noel G. Chase, pastor, Arley United Methodist Church
Thank you for your front page article in the Sun regarding personal rights and government power.
I have been following this subject for several years and most recently became personally acquainted with it when I volunteered at In As Much Ministries. Every time I visit the Spirit of Liberty Building I hear of the frustration of the volunteers with this situation. As you know the building is offered rent free to In As Much Ministries and to Love INC. They are now being asked to relocate, incurring costs that they cannot afford. I understand that a group called Freedom House has taken up the challenge to find a permanent home, but again at what costs? Every dollar spent for relocation and attorney's fees is one less dollar available to provide food, rent and utility assistance.
I also am acquainted with the church in the Triangle. The Liberty Christian Union Church has been told three times, at least, that they had to relocate with very little notice - November, Christmas Eve and now April 1. Negotiations are continuing, but at a very slow rate from the city of Liberty, so I understand. I also understand that the offers from the city have been far below the appraised value of the property.
If this situation continues in Liberty, and in other sites as your article points out, who knows whose property is next. Perhaps the city will want the Liberty United Methodist Church on the hill or the property owned by the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church at I-35 and 291, or maybe they will want the Sun Publications property, to satisfy private developers.
I do believe that eminent domain, when used properly and fairly, is necessary to allow for public projects to be completed. As long as a fair price is paid to the property owner there should be no problem. My objection is that the city of Liberty has "sold its soul" to developers who want to seize property for their personal gain and just want to make money and don't care about how people are affected. American citizens deserve better than this.
Sun-News of the Northland: www.zwire.com