Orlando council to discuss church purchase

Updated:

The city and the church are at odds over how much Orlando should pay to buy the church and its property. (1/27/14)

ORLANDO, Fla. - A small family-owned church in Parramore is standing in the way of Orlando's new soccer stadium. On Monday church members could find out whether or not they'll be forced out.
 
City leaders could decide to use eminent domain to seize the land that houses a church that goes back three generations in the same family.
 
City officials said they made an offer of more than double the value of the property but the church came back with a much higher figure.
 
Church leaders declined an offer of $1.5 million from the city saying it's not enough to rebuild the Faith Deliverance Temple. Their counter offer was $35 million.
 
"If we go through eminent domain we pay exactly what the court tells us to pay," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
 
If a court decides and allows an eminent domain purchase the city's cost could be cut in half, to the market values of about $700,000.
           
"I'm disappointed, they acted reasonably to begin with, but it often happens when government needs a piece of property, they start demanding outlandish amounts of money. I don't think I could look any citizen in the eye and say we just paid $40 million for a $700,000 piece of property," said Dyer.
 
Some area residents said they think it's wrong for the city to take the church for a multimillion-dollar soccer stadium.         
 
"Political bullying needs to stop," said Parramore advocate Lawanna Gelzer. "Public use, yes, a road or something that would improve the community. A billionaire getting a soccer stadium?" Gelzer said.
 
The item is part of the consent agenda Monday's 2 p.m. Orlando City Council meeting.
 
If no council member objects to the item it could pass without any further discussion.