By Anna Skinner
After rising concerns from neighbors, Itown Church is exploring different options for the expansion of its Fishers campus at 9959 E. 126th St.
Itown Church recently proposed an expansion onto the driving range and putting greens of Gray Eagle Golf Course at 126th Street and Brooks School Road, a plan that projected 75 percent hard surface with the parking lot and church building. Graystone neighborhood residents expressed concern and signed petitions, and now Itown Church is seeking other options.
“itown has filed a continuance for the City Council meeting because we have heard the concerns of our future neighbors and want to address them,” Mason McDonald, Itown executive administrator, wrote in an email statement to Current. “Our efforts to acquire land are for the simple purpose of expanding our ability to reach our city with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We have no interest in engaging in a zoning battle over green space or the viability of a local golf course. To that end, we are using this continuance period to exhaust all options, as we work with city officials and the City Council to find a property that better accommodates the community we serve. It would be premature to comment at this time in any more detail.”
If the church purchased the green space and driving range from Gray Eagle Golf Course, owner R.N. Thompson could build a clubhouse on the course. Mark Thompson, director of golf operations for R.N. Thompson, did not disclose the proposed selling price.
Neighbors are happy with the continuance and hope Itown will build elsewhere so that they can continue to enjoy the golf course’s green space and wildlife from their backyards.
“I think the first step is getting the new Itown proposal settled, and the second step is to continue to focus on maintaining recreational green space and what we can do to work together as HOA associations,” Graystone resident Teona Wright said. “I understand R.N. Thompson’s point of view and what their needs are. The whole goal of our efforts is to preserve this asset for the community.”
Wright said the city council doesn’t always receive feedback from neighbors regarding proposals, but that it’s important for residents to speak up if they disagree.
“I think oftentimes things are just going along, and people that are on the city council or the mayor, they don’t get a lot of feedback,” she said. “I think they appreciate knowing where people stand on certain issues that really impact their community, so I think this flow of support for the recreational green space and preserving it and looking for alternate properties for Itown, I think it’s important for council to hear. I think they really appreciated getting the input to allow them to look at it from a different perspective.”
Itown Church is scheduled to go before the Fishers City Council for a second and third reading of the proposal at 7 p.m. July 17 at City Hall, 1 Municipal Dr. For the full agenda, visit fishers.in.us.