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No public meeting for Christ statue in Spearfish

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news Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

SPEARFISH (AP) — The Spearfish City Council has decided against sanctioning a public hearing over a real estate entrepreneur's proposal to erect a large statue of Jesus Christ on city-owned land high upon a hillside.

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City Administrator Joe Neeb tells the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/19INrRj) the city won't sponsor a public hearing, but council members are willing to take part in any public forum held by Rand Williams.

Williams last year bought a 6,000-seat amphitheater that hosted the Black Hills Passion Play for nearly 70 years before shutting down in 2008. He wants to put nearby a multimillion-dollar statue along the lines of Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer, a 125-foot-tall statue that draws visitors to the Brazilian city.

Some council members have raised concerns about violating the separation of church and state.

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