Council Meeting Canceled after Church Pulls Plug

May 14, 2015

The special meeting of the West U City Council that had been scheduled for today has been canceled.

The decision to cancel the meeting was announced early today, after officials of West University Baptist Church decided late Wednesday to pull the plug on real estate negotiations with the city of West U over its new Youth Center.

A press release posted on the city of West U’s website Thursday announced the church’s decision.

“The decision to terminate negotiations comes after what the Church describes as public and private attacks from a divisive political climate,” according to the city’s statement.

My Opinion: George Boehme

The city press release quotes West U Mayor Bob Fry.

“Although this is not the result the City Council was hoping for, we understand the difficult decision the West U Baptist Church made last night and we sincerely thank them for always being a gracious West U neighbor,” said Fry. “The next steps will be determined by the West City Council- elect and we hope what is next is in the best, long-term interest of the City.”

The city’s press release also quoted Roger Patterson, senior pastor at West University Baptist Church.

“The Church respects the City and its citizens, and is committed to finding the right balance between everyone’s interests, rights and concerns as we move forward,” said West U Baptist Senior Pastor Roger Patterson. “We are thankful for the service of this council to the citizens of this great community, and we are praying for the new Council as they take office.”

The real estate negotiations, which have dragged on for several months, involved a land swap between the city and the church. The city wanted to trade its property on Milton St. where the Public Works maintenance facility is now located for the church’s property on Amherst St. The trade was part of a long-range Master Plan for Municipal Facilities that would have created a Super Block of city buildings on the land between University Blvd. and Auden, Amherst and College Sts.

A slate of candidates who opposed the Super Block were swept into office in Saturday’s municipal election. The new council will be composed of former Mayors Bob Kelly and Burt Ballanfant, along with Brennan Reilly and Mardi Turner.

Susan Sample, who is currently Mayor Pro Tem, was elected Mayor without opposition.

The new mayor and council will take office June 1.