Utility company pledges to protect boy's dream church safe - KCTV5 News

Utility company pledges to protect boy's dream church safe from construction

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A mother's tears moved a community and brought a pledge from KCP&L to protect a dead little boy's church from a construction project.

Stacey Garton is vowing to stay vigilant to ensure that her son's dream isn't touched as the utility company builds a transmission line through Clinton County.

"I am completely emotioned out. I am completely tired," Garton said.

Many were touched as they watched Garton earlier this week describe to KCTV5 the importance of the church to her and the community.

Mackintyre Garton often spoke about wanting to have a church built on a tract near Lathrop owned by his grandparents. He regularly for several years talked about wanting a church on that particular spot.

When he was just 9 years old, Mackintyre developed a brain aneurysm and died suddenly.

That very day, his parents vowed his memory and vision wouldn't die with him.

"With the dreams and aspirations he had . . .  every day for three years, this child asked for a church. There had to be a reason, and we had to build it," Garton said.

So with a lot of help from his grandparents and the community, they built the church and laid Mackintyre's body to rest just a few feet away.

"We have weddings here. We have baptisms here. We have funerals here," Garton said.

The Gartons sounded the alarm when they learned that the utility project could come near the church. Brent Davis, a project manager for the utility company, wrote a letter to the family on Thursday.

"We appreciate your concern regarding the location of the future transmission line. While we can't imagine your situation and the loss of your son, we respect the memorial you have built in his memory," Davis wrote. "None of the potential routes will harm Mackintyre's Church or grave site, and the closest potential route is more than 200 feet away from the church."

He apologized that "the location of the potential routes wasn't shared with you sooner."

Hundreds turned out Thursday night to voice their opinions about the transmission line route, and many want the church left alone. The line will stretch north into Nebraska.

A final route won't be chosen until later this year, but Stacey Garton said KCP&L now has all the information from her family to make an informed decision about the route.

"We have worked very carefully to avoid all buildings, properties, cemeteries, parks and schools. We've talked with officials to identify ways with the last impact," KCP&L spokesman Bill Musgrave said.

While Garton appreciates the reassurances, she's not letting her guard down.

"It's not over yet. We still have a ways to go. I'm tired. I just want it to be over," she said.

For more information on the project, click here.

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