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Historic Lafayette church gets grant for final leg of exterior restoration

The grant is coming from DNR's Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. It's a $50,000 match grant, where the grant will match the amount provided by the organization.

Posted: Aug 28, 2019 4:50 PM
Updated: Aug 28, 2019 5:41 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A historic Lafayette church is about to start its final brick restoration project thanks to the help of a grant. Trinity United Methodist Church has spent the last four years restoring the exterior of its building. Many of the 150 year old bricks are crumbling. Mortar joint erosion has threatened the stability of the bricks.

The grant is coming from DNR's Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. The funds come from the National Park Service. It's a $50,000 match grant, where the grant will match the amount provided by the organization.

This money will be used to help restore the final exterior wall along North Street. The first wall to be restored in 2015 was completely funded by the congregation, and it cost more than $100,000.

Pastor Tracy Leslie said they will have spent about $750,000 on this exterior restoration project, and that they have gone over budget every time because of what they have unearthed behind the walls. However, she said every penny was worth it.

"It has great value because it's our place of worship and faith community but it has incredible value to the whole are from a historical perspective," she said.

Stephen Ash has attended Trinity United Methodist Church for 40 years. He helped write the grants.

"The congregation is very dedicated, very serious Christians," he said. "They really appreciate the fact that the downtown churches are really an expression of the faith of our forefathers."

He said they started the exterior restoration at the perfect time.

"We did this really just in time to save the interior framework, which is actually wood," he said.

2019 marks the 150th anniversary for the church. It will be participating the Gallery Walk event being held on September 27th, where you can find work made by local artists that is inspired by the church building.

Work on the wall is expected to start this fall. Weather permitting, it will be complete in three months.

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