Hoosier Heartland, Delphi church cross paths
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Prime farmland in west central Indiana, an area including Carroll County, was valued at about $7,500 an acre on average last year, according to the 2011 Purdue Farmland Value Survey.
However, that value doesn’t include access to utilities and roads. The church would like to be located on a main road as it is now, Stewart said.
They checked out an empty Methodist church in Delphi, but it wasn’t adequate for the congregation’s needs, Stewart said.
“We want to be on a main road and not in a place hard to find,” he said.
Stewart admits he has an emotional connection to the church he’s led for 28 years.
He’s lived in Delphi since he was 3 and used to help his dad, who was a farmer, on part of what is now church property.
The main church building was constructed in late 1973, and a multipurpose fellowship hall was built in 2003. A storage garage building also is on the church property.
“Most of the people here have been with the church since 1973,” Marshall said, recalling the origins of the church.
“It is like a family. We love each other, worship together and have good times.”
Still, the highway construction has impacted the church beyond the uncertainty of a move.
Average Sunday attendance is down to 35 of its 65 members. Before the highway project, there were between 80 and 100 members.
“Our church will stick together. I believe the Lord has his hand in this,” Stewart said.
“The Bible says to fear not, to put your trust in God,” Marshall said. “I have no doubt that we will get something better out of this.
“Everybody is pretty positive. It won’t be as bad as people think.”
Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, the Hoosier Heartland will roll through, replacing Indiana 25, a two-lane rural highway constructed in the 1930s, with a new four-lane, limited-access highway that will connect Lafayette to Fort Wayne, where it will link to the U.S. 24 Fort to Port highway.
The 36-mile Hoosier Heartland project will upgrade the current highway’s 81 at-grade street intersections, three at-grade railroad crossings, and more than 140 private entrances across Tippecanoe, Carroll and Cass counties.