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Villages-area church presses Sumter commission for turn lane

Members of Grace Tabernacle in Sumter County want a turn lane added in front of the church. Photo: Joe Byrnes

Members of Grace Tabernacle pressed the Sumter County Commission Tuesday evening for a left turn off County Road 468 into their church.

And their public comments — sprinkled with Bible verses — won a review, at least, from the board.

Church members said the loss of an opening in the median causes delay when an ambulance is called.

Pastor Gary Washburn said the non-denominational Christian church is a good neighbor in an area where The Villages is growing.

“I timed it from the Fire Department Station 47. It adds three minutes forty-one seconds added to this. Three minutes forty-one seconds could save a lot of lives,” Washburn said.

But mostly members focused on the safety and convenience of churchgoers and of clients coming to the food bank on Tuesdays. Westbound drivers have to go more than a half mile to make a U-turn or a mile and a half to a roundabout.

There used to be a median break and an entry through neighboring property. 

The county administrator said the road design is based on engineering requirements for highway safety and that traffic on the four-lane road is going to increase.

Commissioners asked the county to once again review the design and consult with the church.

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