In today’s issue of Park Cities People, I’ve caught up with several parties involved in HPPC’s much-squabbled-over plan for a new parking lot, which will go before University Park’s planning and zoning commission in August. The issue made CBS 11 earlier this week — naturally, right before our story went to press.
In a letter sent yesterday to neighbors, HPPC’s Rev. Ron Scates had this to say about the lot (herein he references a “facts and perspectives sheet” that you can download as a PDF):
Dear HPPC Family,
The last project in the Forward by Faith campaign, the parking plaza, has received media attention and sparked debate within our community. We anticipate that this will continue over the coming months as we proceed with the planned development rezoning process with the city.
We expect that many of you may be asked questions about our plans from others. Should you need additional information, or a refresher, we attach a Facts and Perspectives document that is provided to give you more explanation and details. You can also view the final design in the Welcome Center and on the church web site at www.hppc.org/forwardbyfaith.
Communication with our neighbors began in March of 2009 when we presented to them the first concept for the parking plaza. Since then we have met multiple times with neighbors, modifying our plans where possible to incorporate into the design our understanding of their concerns. We slowed down our design process, we stopped and backed up so we could include more input from our neighbors, and we included two neighbors on the final design team. Several meetings were held with neighbor representatives, some who are members of HPPC. Several features were added or modified as a direct result of the interaction with our neighbors. While these revisions added significantly to the total cost, we believe the changes improve the overall plaza design and function, and its fit with our neighborhood.
The parking spots will serve to encourage believers to worship in community as Christ commands us. The parking spots will serve to encourage believers and members to invite a friend to join them. The parking spots will serve to beckon those who are broken and weary to seek comfort in the arms of the Church. That is how we see the parking plaza – it will enhance the mission of HPPC of “Making Disciples of Jesus Christ.” We will be a more accessible and welcoming church as a result of this parking plaza.
Although we have tried our best to develop a design that is supported by the neighborhood, we realize that some remain unhappy with our decisions. Some of our good neighbors disagree with us about the benefits of the plan to the church and the community. We have heard and acknowledge their concern. After much deliberation, our hope is that this view will be transformed in time to one of neighborly understanding, acceptance, and appreciation. In keeping with our long tradition and place in this unique neighborhood, we believe this parking plaza will increase our ability to minister to the community while extending the beauty of our architecture to the West Block in a manner that blends into the neighborhood.
In the attached Facts and Perspective sheet, we have answered many of the questions we have been hearing about the parking plaza. We have also provided clarification based on some of the mistaken information we have heard.
Please join us in thanking the Lord for all He has done in this season of our church’s history where we have moved Forward by Faith.
Rev. Dr. Ron Scates
Senior Pastor Ben Brown, Clerk of Session