MINEOLA, TX (KLTV) - They thought light might shine again, in a place once filled with darkness. It all sounded great until they took one look at the city's zoning laws.
"The ordinance here is very tight," said Charles Fry who works with the ministry that is trying to find a place to house their food pantry.
In 2006, an ordinance passed making the area they were hoping to move to a single-family residential zone only. Fry has also been working with city officials to try and find a loop hole, but to no avail.
"It specifically prohibits philanthropic or charitable organizations," explained Fry. "It's single family only."
We spoke to Mineola's mayor by phone. He said the zoning ordinance could be brought before a council, but the ministry thought it easier to look elsewhere.
"You can't blame the city, and I'm not upset about the city," said Fry. "You know, we could have found that out before."
The restrictions certainly make it harder on the owner of this building to sell.
"It is sad," said Stephen Smith with Holly Reality. "This place has been a part of Mineola history for many years, going way back, and to just see it zoned in a way that really can't be used anymore. There's not really a way to convert this into a residence."
"There was disappointment because everybody wanted to see this place have a new frame on it and a new idea behind it and cleaned up, but it will eventually," said Fry.
The ministry has now turned their eye to this old welding site on the south part of town.
"God works in strange ways, and sometimes there are doors closed because he wants you to open something else," said Fry.
As for the building, some just hope it can open up again as well.
"It needs to be used for something, you know, something that we could benefit from it and the city could benefit from it," said Vickie Peebles.
"It is just a big let down," I asked.
"It is, because the ministry is wonderful," she replied.
While many Mineola residents are disappointed, some are throwing out the idea that this area could be turned into a multi-residential area, and will continue to work to move forward from those dark days.
The ministry is still in need of monetary donations, volunteers, and supplies. And a fund is now set up at Bank Texas in Mineola. If you'd like to help, it's under the "Bread of Life Ministries Building Fund."