March 23, 2012A savior may have been found for Rock Hill Presbyterian Church, though it could mean that the historic building would be moved to Wright City.
With demolition of the historic church at Manchester and McKnight roads only weeks away, the city has received a proposal to move it to Cedar Lake Cellars Winery and Event Venue in Wright City.
City Administrator George Liyeos confirmed that the city was approached about a month ago by Brinkman Construction, general contractor for U-Gas, along with Carol Bolm, owner of the winery, with an offer to dismantle the church and move it to the winery site. U-Gas has purchased the church property with plans to build a gas station.
"We can also say that the church will be reconstructed to as closely match the form that it inhabits today, but it will not be exactly the same," Liyeos said.
Chris Musial, chairman of the Citizens to Save the Rock Hill Church Committee, said Brinkman would do a "selective demolition," dismantling the church brick by brick, though parts of the church would not make the trip.
"Brinkman would pay for everything," Musial said.
Donations have been collected on behalf of saving the old church — a total of $4,700. Liyeos said those monies will be returned should the city accept the current proposl.
Musial's group has been working to raise about $900,000 to move both the church and the Fairfax House to Rock Hill Park, 827 N. Rock Hill Road. The funds also include maintenance of the buildings. Musial said he was told that demolition on the church would begin on April 16.
"Expert Movers needs two weeks notice," he said of the company which would move the two buildings to Rock Hill Park. "So we would have to get them under contract by April 2."
Musial added that the estimate had gone from $900,000 to $700,000 due to overestimating utility costs.
Board Member Ed Johnson again brought up his plan for the church first proposed in December. He would like to move the church to 215-217 Almentor Ave. at a cost of about $500,000. The plan calls for the church to be restored with the office area turned into restrooms and lounge areas. Later, a community center would be built adjacent to the church for activities and "preservations of the rich community culture." The Rock Hill-North Webster Historical Society would own and manage the facility.
"The income from donations, grants would be projected at $450,000." he said.
Board Meeting Cancelled
The Rock Hill Board of Aldermen cancelled its April 3 meeting due to the election. The next meeting will be Tuesday, April 17.