GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A vacant lot at the intersection of 34th Avenue, Harrison Drive and Frances Fredricks Boulevard is where Ravened Ozell Addison wants to build a new place of worship for Galilee Baptist Church.
"We have been leasing for the past six years and the Lord has let us know it is time for us to grow out of the place we have and have something we can call our own to leave for grandchildren and children," Addison said.
He had preliminary plans drawn up and met with the Gulfport Planning and Zoning Commission, which approved his request, even after several residents voiced their concerns saying the intersection is already busy and dangerous.
"We have had wrecks constantly in that curve and everything," North Gulfport Resident Richard Marsh said. "Matter of fact, you have kids to get hit coming into that curve."
Near the site there is a school, day care, fire station and senior center. Marsh said adding another commercial building to the residential community would be too much. The Gulfport City Council agreed.
Councilman R. Lee Flowers said, "You are just going to have a logistics nightmare every time you have church."
Councilman Kenneth "Truck" Casey said, "It's all about safety. It's nothing about Reverend Addison. Nothing. Safety."
Reverend Addison left the meeting frustrated.
"Nothing but politics," Addison said. "It is dangerous to leave the Isiah Fredericks Center and people all day long leave the Baptist Center in a safe manner and we can too."
The reverend said he does not know where he will go from here, but he still plans to find somewhere for his church to grow.