As pastors, our commitment to the community goes beyond church walls. We’ve recently honored the legacy of the great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During Black History Month, we now turn our attention to the preservation of local black history and the continued struggle for equal prosperity within our own city limits.

The Kenton Street/Greenwood Alley rezoning decision permits the destruction of long-standing homes in a historically African American neighborhood. It necessitates the displacement and disruption of residents, including some elderly residents who have shaped this community for many decades. It permanently excludes affordable housing where it has existed for nearly a century. Few, if any, Bowling Green residential neighborhoods would welcome such a development. Yet, impacted residents complain they were misinformed, overlooked or altogether excluded in the process as they sought to give input. Recalling the lessons from a troubled past of urban renewal in communities such as Jonesville, we ask whether all neighborhoods in the city are equally valued today.

Many of our congregations stand within Bowling Green’s “Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area.” We urge developers and city officials to prioritize responsible revitalization with every proposed development, by acknowledging the existence of and needs for the surrounding community, and by including the input of residents at every stage. In the case of Kenton Street and Greenwood Alley, we believe every effort should have been made to maintain affordable housing. We believe the end result discourages and penalizes developers wishing to do right by the communities in which they choose to locate. The only appropriate development for any residential area is one that truly fits the character of the neighborhood.

We offer our public support to the impacted residents and congregations in their efforts to obtain a fair outcome in their appeal of this decision.

Pastor Stacey L. Beason

Trinity Full Gospel Baptist Church

Pastor Don Duvall

Seventh Street Baptist Church

Senior Minister the Rev. Megan Huston

First Christian Church

Pastor John C. Lee Jr.

Mt. Zion Baptist Church

Pastor Ron E. Whitlock Sr.

New Beginnings Christian Ministries

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(4) comments

Absolutely Positively

Hey, where are the atheists who always show up in the comments areas to take shots at Christians and/or Christianity? Ooohhh wait, never mind.

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Shame on city officials for trying to force industrial-type buildings in a residential neighborhood. This would never happen if the neighborhood was Bent Tree, River Green, or any other upscale area. I support the residents in their appeals process and encourage the mayor and commissioners to choose a different area that is already zoned for business and industry.

Enough Already

"Bent Tree, River Green, or any other upscale area" would never tolerate slum housing year after year, decade after decade and then pretend replacing it with something new and useful is somehow disrespectful or racist to people who live there, or in many cases people who DON"T live there. How come it's only a problem now and not before? If this is such a concientous tight knit neighborhood why didn't somebody who lived there advocate for some kind of urban renewal or private neighborhood improvement campaign? The pastors opposing this now rezoned area are late to the dance and hardly unbiased but always ready to jump on the race bandwagon every chance they get. Where were these churches when this was in the early stages? How come these are the ONLY churches upset with this so-called injustice? If this area was not predominantly black nothing would be said, but because it is, the racial justice warriors have come out of the woodwork to make a problem where none existed. Get a life and stop whining about a non-issue.

Absolutely Positively

Despite recent claims to the contrary, there is nothing special about this area. Nothing. Every blighted area was once a close-knit community a million years ago. This is not an area of cultural or social significance.

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