INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An effort to save the historic German church in Cumberland has had its fundraising deadline extended after a big contribution.
The 104-year-old church is at risk of demolition for the second time in two years. It was once home to St. John United Church of Christ, and the church still owns the property.
The church needs $75,000 in donations to save the building. Ninety-three percent of that amount has now been gathered following a $25,000 contribution from the Cumberland town council Wednesday. The deadline to raise $5,000 more has been pushed to May 8.
“As of this morning, we’ve nearly met our fundraising goal,” said Town Manager April Fisher. “We need just $5,000 more, and since we’re so close, the congregation is extending the deadline a bit. They have agreed to let us keep raising funds until May 8. We’re working together to make something great happen for the community.”
A local company called TWG Development plans to buy the property if it’s awarded federal tax breaks. The company didn’t get those credits this time around, and TWG said the company is now on a waiting list.
While TWG waits, church leaders with St. John say they need money to maintain the empty building. TWG doesn’t plan to pay for that, which is why the town is raising money.
TWG Development agreed to buy the building and turn it into senior housing if the company is awarded affordable housing credits. Church leaders said they need $75,000 for upkeep while TWG waits for the tax breaks.
Church leaders said real estate advisers told them no one will buy the property unless they demolish the church.
Plans to demolish the church for a 24-hour gas station fell through in 2015 because locals opposed the plan.
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