Before a standing room only audience, the Redfield City Council held its monthly at city hall to hear Bro. Bill Fitzhugh, pastor of Family Church, talk about plans to open a satellite church in Redfield.
The meeting opened with an apologetic introduction from Redfield Mayor Tony Lawhon. “I want to start off this meeting tonight by saying I want to apologize to the city council and to the department heads if by any stretch of the imagination that I have wasted your time,” Lawhon said.
Prior to the meeting, the department heads were asked to make their written reports as detailed as possible because there would not be any verbal committee or commission reports given.
Lawhon continued, “We’re talking tonight about the future of the Redfield Middle School Facility. Whenever something of this magnitude affects an entire city and all the public inside of that city, I feel like there comes a time when we have to address it.”
Before introducing Fitzhugh, Lawhon said, “I realize this is a very large issue for the future of Redfield and for the future of Redfield Middle School.”
Fitzhugh spoke to the council members and those in attendance. He explained the church’s intent with regard to opening a satellite church in the Redfield community. The church has purchased 10 acres of land across from Relyance Bank in Redfield and they plan to begin construction on a 10 to 12 thousand square foot structure by this fall. According to Fitzhugh, the project will cost more than $1 million and will take about nine months to complete.
Fitzhugh said that the church would like to use the Redfield Middle School facilities for one year while their new building is being constructed.
“We are not coming to Redfield to take or to hinder, we are coming to Redfield to bless and that’s all we want to do,” Fitzhugh assured listeners.
Emotions ran high as members of the Keep Redfield Middle School Task Force and Redfield Tri-County Charter School spoke about the desires of their organizations as well as others to utilize the RMS buildings for different civic and community projects.
By the end of the meeting, all groups came to a general consensus that they could support the idea of Family Church leasing the property as long as other organizations were allowed to use the facilities with the permission of the church.
Not everyone seemed happy with the idea, however, everyone agreed that the building does not need to sit empty for an extended period of time for fear that it will deteriorate.
Lawhon and Fitzhugh addressed the school board during June’s meeting asked for permission to lease the property. According to statements given at the meeting by Dr. Larry Smith, superintendent of WHSD, the buildings need to sit empty for at least three months to determine their fixed utility costs. The school board also informed Fitzhugh that other organizations were interested in using the facilities. WHSD has yet to make a decision on what will be done with the facilities.