Woodland Park Baptist Church finishes voting process for Tennessee Temple move

Woodland Park Baptist Church finishes voting process for Tennessee Temple move

May 1st, 2014 by Alex Harris in Local Regional News

Document: Woodlandpark/Tennessee Temple

Photo by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

Property owned by Woodland Park Baptist Church in Tyner could be a possible future home of Tennessee Temple University.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Tennessee Temple University could find out today if it will have a new home on the property of Woodland Park Baptist Church.

The congregation of Woodland Park Baptist Church was to close its voting period Wednesday night over whether to allow the university to move from its urban Highland Park setting to the church's sprawling Tyner campus on Standifer Gap Road.

"The prayer part of the process has been over 30 days -- because what we do, we take it before the body, it's about a 30-day process. And then the response, it was from Sunday -- this past Sunday -- until tonight, just in case people were out of town Sunday, to give them time to respond," said Carey Dean, the church's worship pastor, at Woodland Park's Wednesday service.

Dean said the church would finish collecting votes Wednesday night and tally them today all Thursday.

"We wanted a process of integrity with those that were responding," Dean said. "And so we thought it was best just not even to process those votes at all until all of the process is finished."

Although church and school leaders say the proposed move is still in its preliminary stages, a few notices of application for property rezoning and a special exceptions permit for an "institutional planned unit development" were on display at the entrance to the property.

The planning commission voted to approve the project at its April 14 meeting, pending the results of a study to determine the effect of increased traffic from the school.

Tennessee Temple University President Steve Echols could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

Contact staff writer Alex Harris at aharris@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.