Church Event Center Draws Concern from Ponder Neighbors

Church expansions seldom raise concerns, but the one going up in Ponder isn’t your average sanctuary.

The Denton County Cowboy Church is building a large indoor multipurpose arena and event center on acreage behind their current building.

The enclosed arena will supplement the church’s outdoor rodeo area to host rodeo and worship events, as well as community events for outside entities.

Pastor Jeff Tackett said the rodeo and cowboy lifestyle is an essential part of the church’s message and worship and has helped them grow into one of the larger of their kind in the area.

"In our ministry here, people love John Wayne, Johnny Cash, John Deere and Jesus,” said Tackett.

Tackett said Wednesday the response to the new arena has been fairly positive in the small community, but not everyone is on board.

Neighbors living on Maddison Place back directly up to the land the church is building on.

While some said they’re fine with the addition, several others told NBC 5 that they had concerns about the large building going up, in some cases, 150 feet from back yards.

"It's just been loud already. I can't imagine a rodeo being any quieter, ya know?" said Ashley Pollock. "It's a residential area."

Pollock’s husband Sean said he questions if the arena should even fit into the current residential zoning of the area, and that he and other neighbors were meeting with an attorney to raise that point to the town.

"We're trying to help them out, not to give them a problem later on,” said Pollock.

Tackett said the church has been very mindful of going through the process to build the event center.

"We've purchased all the proper permits and the city council said we're doing everything right,” he said.

The church said they’ve even consulted the town attorney and an attorney of their own to make sure they are up to standards.

The Ponder Town Secretary and other leaders in touch with the issue were not available for comment Wednesday.

"We want to be good neighbors to everyone here,” said Tackett who hopes the issue can be resolved.

The Denton County Cowboy Church is still recovering from a 2012 fire that burnt down part of their building and forced them to rebuild.

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