Westside Springfield neighbors concerned over new location of The Connecting Grounds Church
Neighbors from west Springfield met at Westport Park, starting their meeting with voices from the neighborhood that previously housed the Connecting Grounds on Commercial Street.
If the church moves closer to the westside, neighbors fear thefts will increase, and they worry about children who walk to nearby schools.
"If they can help then more power to them, but we really really don't need them over here," said Beverly Wilson.
Earlier this month, The Connecting Grounds Pastor Christie Love announced it would be moving from Commercial Street to West Chestnut Expressway.
Love said she would rather change locations than compromise the call to help those in need in our community Love also plans to open up an outreach center just up the street where the Frisch Flea Market used to be located...
Supporters of the church were also at the meeting.
"The problem in my experience in this is that Christie Love or the Connecting Grounds is doing too much, the problem is that the rest of us aren't doing enough. And so we have a blossoming unsheltered population here in Springfield, what are we going to do about it?" said Ben Stringer.
But Wilson says it's not a problem she or her neighbors should have to deal with.
"No, I don't have a solution, that's her problem, but don't put them over here, we have got our own problems. I want to help them too, and if I knew the answer, I'd be a millionaire," said Wilson.
But, there was a question among neighbors that was repeatedly asked, What can neighbors do to stop the move?
"We will check to make sure that what she is doing is permitted in the zoning district and if it is, we don't have the authority to deny that," said Mary Smith the Planning and Zoning Director of Springfield.
The mayor and north side council representatives also attended the meeting. Love hopes to officially open the new church location by the end of August and the new outreach center by September 1.