Town raises money to save historic church from demolition

German church in Cumberland
WISH Photo

CUMBERLAND, Ind. (WISH) — The town of Cumberland said they’ve raised enough money to save the old German Church at least until next spring.

Town leaders announced last month they need $75,000 to save the historic church from demolition. The town reached their goal, but they haven’t cleared the final hurdle.

The town is giving the money to St. John United Church of Christ, a congregation that still owns the 104-year-old church and used to worship in the building. They’ve now moved to another church about two miles away.

A local company called TWG Development plans to buy the old church if TWG is awarded federal tax credits. While TWG waits on the tax credits, St. John congregation president Steve Lindsey said the congregation needs the $75,000 to maintain the aging structure until next spring.

“It’s a landmark, but it’s impossible for us to keep it up,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey said real estate agents told church leaders it will be difficult to sell the old property unless the church is demolished.

“I was married there. My daughters were baptized there. My daughter got married there,” Lindsey said. “A lot of history, but you have to move on.”

Cumberland town manager April Fisher said the town teamed with Indiana Landmarks to collect $75,000 in donations in four weeks.

“I wanna say we were ecstatic, but mostly we were just extremely tired and relieved,” Fisher said.

TWG did not respond to a message from 24-Hour News 8. Town leaders said they could know in the fall whether TWG gets the tax break.

If they don’t?

“We’ll just have to see how it works out,” Lindsey said.

“No idea at this point,” Fisher said.

Plans to demolish the church and build a 24-hour convenience store fell through in 2015 after locals opposed the plan.

TWG has already applied for the tax credits, and they are currently on a waiting list.

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