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City to use eminent domain to take church in way of new soccer stadium

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ORLANDO, Fla. - The city of Orlando has filed paperwork to take legal action against a decades-old church that sits in the way of a new soccer stadium.

City leaders said they've tried to work with Faith Deliverance Temple to make way for the soccer stadium. The city and the church have been unable to come to an agreement.

The city just filed paperwork announcing its plans to use eminent domain to obtain the property that the church sits on in order to build the $115 million stadium.

The issue of the church land has been an ongoing battle between residents and the city.

"I've been here for 20-some years," Randall Carter said. "It's serving a community, it's serving a purpose for the community."

City officials have been in negotiations with the church owners for about a year. The owners said their last offer was $4 million for a property appraised at just $695,000. The church turned down the offer and instead asked for $35 million.

In a statement, the city said it "had no choice but to take this issue to the courts for resolution."

WFTV contacted Pastor Catherine Williams with the Faith Deliverance Temple, but she wasn't prepared to speak about the issue.

"Not now, I can't," Williams said.

City attorneys will now head to court to try to prove that taking the church is for the greater good of the people. If a judge agrees, the church will be no more and the 0wners will be compensated, but how much they'll receive is unclear.