Update on Status of the Effort to Save the Bell Tower
On December 5th the leadership of First Lutheran delayed demolition to provide time for an engineering review of options to stabilize the bell tower right now. If this is feasible with current identified funding, it will provide the opportunity for a more extensive fundraising effort in the next six months. The goal of the fundraising would to stabilize and restore the bell tower and provide to fund the much-needed elevator to make the three venues within the church accessible.
Background on the Bell Tower Situation
The demolition risk emerged in September 2020 when a structural review of the bell tower revealed that “Due to the deteriorated condition of the bell tower structure/facade and the inadequacies of the original structural design an immediate remediation of the bell tower is needed.” On the basis of this report, the city has ordered immediate demolition.
The church has plans for an elevator and interior improvements that will support its mission of engaging the community as an arts and meeting venue and aiding people in need. We value the historic aspects of the church but the accessibility project and enhancement of meeting/performance spaces is our top priority.
The cost to fully stabilize and restore the bell tower is estimated at $1.2 million. The access and interior renovation project is also in this range. Funds are not available for either project at this time.
Demolition will cost $240,000 to $300,000 and could begin immediately.
An effort to raise funds for the first phase of the stabilization restoration is underway. It will also be important to have a realistic plan for the remaining fundraising.
For more information on the FLC Bell Tower, visit the Cincinnati Preservation Association
Cincinnati Movers and Makers, March 2021