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January 16, 2013

75k for church restoration to be weighed by New Albany council

Horseshoe Foundation has provided 25k toward estimated $403k project

NEW ALBANY — The final vote on a $75,000 appropriation to help restore the historic Second Baptist Church building is slated to be taken by the New Albany City Council Thursday. 

After being approved on first and second ballots, the final reading on the appropriation has been tabled since October. Some city officials requested that an easement be put in place so that New Albany can recoup its interests if the church is ever sold. 

City Attorney Stan Robison confirmed Tuesday that an easement has been filed so that the city would have first rights on the church steeple if it’s replaced through the project. 

Second Baptist Rev. LeRoy Marshall had said in October that he would have to confer with his congregation before agreeing to an easement over the church property with the city. 

Messages left for Marshall seeking comment for this story hadn’t been returned as of press time, but Robison said the church had agreed to the easement. 

As estimated by the local firm Michell Timperman Ritz Architects, the cost to repair what has been known as the Town Clock Church could be as much as $403,500. 

The project would entail repairing masonry, refurbishing windows and replicating the original steeple of the church, which is located at 300 E. Main St. 

Fundraising efforts began last year for the project, and organizations such as the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County, the Floyd County Historical Society and Develop New Albany have contributed to the cause. 

Councilman John Gonder is the sponsor of the $75,000 appropriation, and said due to the church’s role in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, the building should be maintained and treasured as a part of New Albany’s legacy. 

He added more money will have to roll-in to support the rehabilitation of the structure, as the first phase of the project including replication of the original steeple and repair of architectural woodwork is estimated to cost $217,500. 

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