"Sneaky Deal" Closes Jackson County Road; Neighbors Say - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/21/04

"Sneaky Deal" Closes Jackson County Road; Neighbors Say

"It's normally pretty peaceful and quiet around here," New Hope Road Resident Kevin Powell says.

But lately Powell says the entire neighborhood has been in an uproar.

The sign went up two weeks ago after leaders with the New Hope Assembly of God Church received permission from supervisors to shut down the south entrance to New Hope Road.

It's something church leaders say has been in the works for a year, but neighborhood residents we spoke with say they knew nothing about it.

"You don't have a road closed and no one living on the road know anything about it without somebody trying to hide something,"Powell adds.

He says it's the church who's hiding, because of past objections by area residents.

"They've tried it before and everyone went down there and had it stopped," Powell says.

"We just want the road to be closed," Pastor Bob Creps says.

Creps wants that because he says the location of New Hope Road poses a safety hazard to his church members.

"There have been some close calls where people's lives were in danger as a pedestrian," Creps says.

"There has been people speeding up and down the road. People don't have any respect for this being a parking lot it seems like," Church Deacon Bruce Pepper says.

Church officials say they did everything by the book.

"We went through all of the procedures we were told we needed to do. We petitioned and did everything as we were supposed to," Creps says.

Church leaders say they were given permission to take action during a public hearing.

That was the hearing that neighbors, once again say, they weren't invited to.

As for who's to blame?

Well, that depends on who you ask.

Creps says the responsibility of notifying neighbors lies with county supervisors.

But Powell says the church is at fault.

"Respect's the issue. We are right next door. All they had to do was come talk to us," Powell says.

By Jaimee Goad

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