GRANITE FALLS, N.C. - The North Carolina Department of Transportation is looking to widen part of Main Street in downtown Granite Falls, but the $25 million project could wipe out an 85-year-old church and impact several businesses.
The NCDOT said the project will help ease congestion and improve safety for those living in the area.
Pastor Casey Fenn said the Rock Chapel Church of God received its name from the people who built it with rocks from their farms in Caldwell County.
The church was built in the 1930s, but with the NCDOT's plan to add a third lane along Main Street, the church could be wiped out.
"It would run through out whole property. Through the dining hall and then obviously, the right of way would go into the church on this side as well," Fenn said.
One of the issues facing the project is a set of railroad tracks running parallel to North Main, preventing NCDOT from widening the road on one side.
This means places like a local barber shop and the town's only hardware store may have to move.
"I don't want the hardware toook out. And, I don't see and don't get me wrong, unless they know something I don't know, I don't see that much traffic going through here," resident Ace Yount said.
"It's disheartening to find out. Obviously, you have to put it in your mindset that eventually, you're gonna have to possibly move," Sean Birtchet from A2Z Barber said.
Officials said the project would realign some of the roads in the downtown area and add sidewalks near the middle school in hopes of cutting down on the number of accidents.
Fenn told his congregation he believes God has a plan for the church going forward.
"I see it as an opportunity to trust God and to let him do the work that he can do and I believe he may be opening a door of opportunities that otherwise wouldn't have," Fenn said.
NCDOT said it will be taking comments from the community through Friday. The widening project would not begin until 2022.
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