City plans to take church property for new soccer stadium

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

A 30-year-old church is standing in the way of Orlando's plans for a new soccer stadium and the city plans to use eminent domain to get the property.

Members of the family-owned Faith Deliverance Temple on W. Church Street said they're insulted by the city's offer to buy the property. The church has been in the same spot since the early 1980s, but now Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the city needs the church's land for the new soccer stadium.

"There are no other options, we've also worked with them, identified properties they could move their church to that are existing properties. We have worked in every way possible," Dyer said.

The city originally offered the church $1.5 million for the property, more than twice its appraised value. But the church wanted $35 million for the land and for the city to renovate its other properties in MetroWest.

"Asking or demanding fifty times the fair market value for a piece of property, that's just not fair to the taxpayers," Dyer said.

Glendy Hamilton, a longtime pastor of another Parramore church, questions if a soccer stadium is truly a public necessity, as eminent domain requires.

"A soccer field is not more important than a church," Hamilton said.

Unless a City Council member takes the eminent domain item off of Monday's meeting agenda, it's expected to pass without a discussion.