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Jamestown Church To Look For Preservation Specialist

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church officials are looking for a preservation specialist to assist with a future renovation project to fix the foundation and refurbish the bell tower. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

Officials at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church are looking for a preservation specialist to assist with upcoming renovations at the 126-year old church.

The Rev. Luke Fodor of St. Luke’s said church officials are looking for the preservation specialist via a public legal notice. Once selected, the specialist will assist in construction bid specifications for work that will most likely start on the church in the spring of 2021.

“In order to maintain a historic property we need a specialist who understands the needs of the building,” Fodor said. “We are in the process of looking for someone to do that. That is the phase where we are at.”

Fodor said proposals will be opened at the beginning of next month for the preservation specialist. He said once the specialist has been selected, church officials will then go out to bid for a construction company to do the renovation work at the church.

Church officials are able to do the renovation work because it received $500,000 in funding from the state in December 2018. He said church officials have five years to spend the state’s funding, so with the renovation work most likely to be started in the spring of 2021, it still gives church officials time for the work to be done by the state’s deadline. He added it’s unknown at this time how long the renovation work will take once started.

“We are still in a good spot to get the project done in time,” Fodor said.

Renovation work that will be done will include fixing the foundation of the church and refurbishing the bell tower.

“The foundation has shifted so the building’s tower is (leaning) slightly,” he said. “The project entails the bell tower and porch on Main Street. Nothing is going to happen overnight, but if you don’t address it, then 10 to 15 years from now, you don’t know what will happen. We want to keep the building standing strong for another 126 years.”

Fodor said the bell tower is still in good shape despite being 126 years old and holding a considerable amount of weight that encompasses all the mechanics involved with the bells.

“The wood is still strong, but at some point you have to replace that. We will take the bells out and redo the structure,” he said. “We may retune and take some of the tarnish off the bells.”

This is the second phase of renovations to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, located at 410 N. Main St., Jamestown. The first phase involved renovating the undercroft of the church. Along with the state funding, money raised by the church’s congregation is also be used as the local match for the renovation projects.

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