The city of Sherman cleared the road, figuratively and literally, for the expansion of North Park Baptist Church this week when it abandoned the right of way for J. Fielding Circle. City officials said the church was inadvertently built on top of a platted roadway years ago, but it was only recently brought to the city’s attention.

City officials said J. Fielding Circle was originally platted as a residential cul-de-sac off of Rex Cruse Drive. The roadway was never brought to fruition, and eventually the church was built on top of the expected route in the 1970s.

“We are abandoning a road that we never plan to use so the property that their church sits on can be theirs rather than earmarked for city purposes,” Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said.

In many cases, the city would abandon the roadway plat to make way for the project, but this never happened with North Park Baptist, city officials said.

“No one with the city was around when this happened, but when they built that church they built it on top of a platted cul-de-sac,” Strauch said. “You shouldn’t be able to do that, but they did.”

Pastor David Murphy said he discovered the platted roadway while he was going through records and correcting paperwork ahead of construction on a new addition to the church.

In addition to the roadway, Murphy said the church also sits on a old power easement that has since gone into disuse, and the property is still zoned residential. Murphy said he plans to correct this soon through the planning and zoning commission.

Like Strauch, Murphy said he wasn’t sure why the roadway was never abandoned. North Park was originally located near Austin College on Willow Street, but moved to its current location in 1973.

“They probably went before the city and said they wanted to build a church, and the city just said, ‘Yes’,” Murphy said.

Murphy said the church is still in the early phases of designing its new worship center and still needs to raise money for the project.