SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Organizers of a planned Christian-themed park in Sioux City have declined a $140,000 public grant to avoid a controversy that arose after the grant was announced last month. Garry Smith, a member of The Shepherd’s Garden board, tells the Sioux City Journal that the group didn’t want to be in the middle of a lawsuit over the grant.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, of Madison, Wisconsin, complained last month about funding the Christian-themed park with public money from Vision Iowa. The group said the grant violated the U.S. and Iowa constitutions. Smith says the group’s objection prompted private donors to come forward, and now the project doesn’t need state money.
Smith says the $810,000 park is still on track for completion in the fall.