Novi roundabout plans call for demolishing church


Calling their small country church in Novi their second home, Fran Shafer, along with her husband pastor Henry Shafer learned this week that the First Free Will Baptist Church must be demolished.

The old school house turned church located at the corner of 10 Mile and Napier roads has been there since the 1950s.

However, Oakland County officials say the church must go to make room for a roundabout that is set to be built in 2017.

Fran says she and her husband were told while he was in the hospital that they were putting in a roundabout and that was in July. She's just heartbroken. 

Putting 25,000 dollars into renovations just last year, Shafer says since the church has had additions, it isn't considered historic. Officials with the road commission for Oakland county call the spot "eminent domain". 

Fran Shafer says they must be out by January and have no where to go. "We've looked. Nowhere in the area has a church or one we could afford. I think we found one in the Walled Lake area but it is $1 million."

Craig Bryson with the Oakland County Road Commission says that they have no options, "everyone knows that intersection is the worst. We've seen too many accidents and we're out there almost every week."

With a speed limit of 50 miles per hour along the church, Bryson says the county plans to cut down a hill to increase visibility, saying that the church would have to move, even if they put in a traffic light.

The county says is offering to help in relocation but Fran Shafer says that it's home and she doesn't want to leave it. 


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