Preserving a Piece of History

Galesburg, IL – Members of the Central Congregational Church in Galesburg hope to preserve their building, which they feel is a piece of the city's history.

The church dates back to 1898, which means a lot of updates will be needed during the next 20 years to maintain the building. "The building is generally in good condition," says Church Moderator Steve Murmann.

"The problem with it is it has significant delayed maintenance that's going to come due. The roof was put in during the 1930's or 1940's. While it's still reasonably solid now, it's going to need replaced. The last time the plaster was redone was 50 or 60 years ago."

Murmann says the congregation can not afford the repairs on their own. "Knowing that expenses are going to outstrip the churches ability to pay for it we are beginning to look for over avenues," says Murmann. "Most important of which is starting a foundation to take care of just the building and then transferring ownership from the church into the foundation."

Murmann hopes to attract money from the federal government and foundations outside of the city. "There are a number of foundations that fund these kinds of things," says Murmann.

Murmann does not know how much it will cost for the upkeep and repairs.

"For this to succeed we have to turn the building into a community treasure instead of just a church," says Murmann. "It's a grossly under utilized building. It was built for a congregation of 1,000 people and we have roughly 100. For this to work I think we will have to set aside large portions of this building and allow other entities to utilize it."