Sunday, March 18, 2012

Little Rock, Arkansas: Church Relocates After Being Bought Out By LR Airport

Some members of New Hebron Missionary Baptist Church had worshiped there in Little Rock for 60 years.

Like Ms. Ellen Dunbar.

"I came here in 1951 and I joined New Hebron in 1952. I came with 3 small children. I lost a son in 73. But my two children were here with me this morning."

For almost a hundred years the church sat at 930 Maxwell Street.

That was until Dassault Falcon Jet needed to purchase the church property to expand at Little Rock national airport.

Pastor, Rodney Smith says it was bittersweet.

"Because we were leaving the place that many had been at for so long, weddings, funerals and baptisms."

The church settled with the airport commission for 7-hundred thousand dollars.

"And fast forward to today a celebration for the church but getting here wasn't easy."

After four years, they sing praises in their new church at 7615 Woodson Road in Southwest Little Rock.

Now happy and blessed, back then,

"We just wanted to be made whole. And we didn't feel like that happened. So it was a little bit of a disappointment."

Disappointed in the fact that their old church was paid for.

They were hoping the airport would do the same for their new church.

They didn't, but Pastor Smith, says it all worked out in the end, when they decided to buy a church already standing and just renovate.

"This situation came along at a fraction of the cost of what it was going to take to build. And on top of that we were able to hold the majority of our funds. So from a financial standpoint we came out a lot better."

His wife, Danielle, says "It was a very trying time it was really scary, because New Hebron was my husbands first church to pastor. And then to have to go through that situation so quickly, it was very difficult, but i am just rejoicing."

Rejoicing, but with advice for those going through eminent domain.

In Southwest Little Rock, Deedra Wilson, KARK 4 News.


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