The church is a tax exempt non-profit, and the gymnastics school is a commercial enterprise. While some residents were concerned about traffic issues, much of the protest came from the Riverview Restaurant complex.
Church members and gymnastics parents defended the change, and church leadership said they were pleasantly surprised by the council’s helpfulness. “Both in the city government as far as elected officials and then also with staff members inside our city government,” said Jay Clatworthy, senior pastor with Lifepoint. “They helped us to walk through those challenges and I was really heartened to see the democratic process play out.”
Clatworthy and his family have been in San Angelo for six years, and he began at Lifepoint as a youth minister before being promoted three years ago. City council members voted six to one in favor of the zoning change allowing Lifepoint Baptist Church to rent to Texas Tumbleweeds Gymnastics.