We’ve seen battles between church and state before but this one is a little different. The state wants to wide a Laurel County Road but there’s a church in the way.
Cornerstone Assembly of God started three years ago with just two families. Now more than 200 people make up its congregation.
“We are reaching out to the community and growing fast and God has been good to us,” said Troy Boggs, pastor at Cornerstone Assembly of God who has started ten churches in Laurel County.
But a planning study done by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said the stretch of West 5th Street from Myers Baker Road to KY-192 is too congested. The Cabinet is planning to expand the half mile stretch of road from two-lanes to four-lanes with a continuous turn lane.
“The state came by and said we’d like to inform you that we’re going to build a road through here and we’ll be needing your church building,” said Boggs about the state acquiring the land that the church sits on and bulldozing the building to make way for the expanded road.
“It is scary in the sense that where am I going to go, where am I going to take my congregation,” said Boggs.
Boggs said The Transportation Cabinet offered the church $495,000.00 but he says to build another centrally-located church in London it isn’t enough money.
“We went south and a piece of property that’s vacant is $1.9 million dollars, we went east up to the next street and it’s $1.2 million,” said Boggs. “We cannot find any property without costing like that.”
Boggs says he’s happy to see things that will help London and Laurel County but he wishes his church did not have to move.
If the church doesn’t accept the Transportation Cabinet’s offer, it will be settled in court.
“It’s unfortunate that some will have to move but this project is beneficial it will make things safer and more useful,” said Les Dixon, public information officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
“I know that God is able, it is his church and I believe that God will see us through and God has a plan for us that we don’t know,” said Boggs.
The church still has about two weeks before it has to make a final decision to accept or refuse the Transportation Cabinet’s offer.
Once negotiations are complete, the church will have 90 days to vacate the building.
Dixon says funding for two-thirds of the project has been approved. They are anticipating the legislature to fund the construction phase soon.