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January 25, 2013

Private funding moving forward for Town Clock Church

Nonprofit board to be established to oversee efforts

NEW ALBANY — With the New Albany City Council and Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County having committed financially to the project, efforts are under way to form a board of directors to oversee private fundraising and long-term planning for the Second Baptist Church refurbishment. 

Historically known as the Town Clock Church, the building off Main Street served as a connection along the Underground Railroad route during the Civil War. 

A study last year estimated about $400,000 in repairs are needed to restore the church building in a manner that would resemble its 19th-Century appearance. 

The first phase of the project — which would include replicating the sizable steeple that once topped the building — has been gauged at $217,500, and the city council approved $75,000 toward the effort last week. 

The Horseshoe Foundation also OK’d a $25,000 grant for the rehabilitation, and now members are being sought for the Friends of the Town Clock Church, Inc. nonprofit group. 

Among its roles, the group would be charged with raising funds, planning for the future of the building and providing resources so that the historic undercroft of the church is notably tied in the community to the Underground Railroad. 

The group, as proposed, would remain formed indefinitely to oversee maintenance and upkeep of the church, according to Jerry Finn, one of the volunteers assisting with the project. 

“As long as the church is around we’d like to have this group around,” he said. 

Additionally, a board of directors will be formed in the coming weeks to serve as the administrative wing of the Friends of the Town Clock Church. 

Finn said the board will likely consist of nine members, establish its own bylaws and elect leaders including a chair. 

A restoration committee will also be created to manage the construction work. 

“There will be a restoration committee, but the board itself will be the governing body to oversee it, but they probably won’t deal with [the construction] on a day-to-day basis like the committee,” Finn said. 

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