We are very excited about this project and look forward to working with you to determine the most appropriate solution to preserving this very important community asset.
- Chris Recht, Associate Counsel for the Cincinnati Port Authority
Loveland, OH - “I have news that I have no doubt that each of you will be tremendously thrilled about,” Paula Oguah told Loveland Council last Tuesday evening. Oguah, and 15 other members of The Loveland Predestinarian Church Preservation Committee (CPC) attended the Loveland city council meeting to announce the pledge of a $50,000 grant by the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority that will be used to restore the historic Black church on Chestnut Street.
CPC is organized to save the church from demolition.
Former Loveland council-member Joe Schickle, who heads the CPC fund raising committee, announced that $5,500 in smaller pledges between $500 and $1,000 have been promised, as well as a $10,000, tentative pledge. Shickel said, "I am delighted to tell you that we have pledges totaling $65,000." Shickel owns historic business property in downtown and lives in a historic home in the church neighborhood.
Chris Recht, the Associate Counsel for the Port Authority attended the meeting to share the announcement. The money will come from The Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation's Historic Structure Stabilization Grants Program. Recht said, "We have identified The Loveland Predestinarian Church as an ideal candidate for funds under this program, given its historical significance and the enhanced value a renovated version of the church would generate for the community as a whole - and adjacent properties." Local contractors will be used, if possible, for the renovation.
The CPC Re-Hab Building Committee, formed to oversee the rehabilitation of the building, provided estimates of the required work. The Port Authority grant of $50,000 will provide the restoration dollars, they however cannot use their money to purchase the church. Loveland taxpayers now own the church, and city administrators are considering demolishing the 118 Year-old Historic Black Church. The $15,000 in other pledges will go towards buying the church from Loveland taxpayers. Approximately $19,000 is needed to fully reimburse the cost to Loveland taxpayers when Loveland acquired the property after it fell into foreclosure. Loveland residents got title to the abandoned church by paying past liens.
Former member of the Church, writer, and historian, Larry Hamilton spoke at the meeting. He has pledged $1,000 personally, and committed additional proceeds of the sale of his book, "Between Two Suns" towards restoration efforts. He was baptized in the church and urged that other Loveland churches become involved in the effort to save the historic landmark.
The church is at the end of Chestnut Street, behind the Loveland Artists Studios on Main Street and one block from the Loveland Post Office. The street address is 225 Chestnut Street. The building was last occupied by a congregation named Mt. Calvary Baptist, and is now vacant.
Loveland resident, Catie O'Keefe lives in a historic home in the neighbrohood that she and her husband renovated . She is moving her business into a historic home they also own and renovated on Chestnut Street. She said, "Paula, fabulous news. Congratulations to all." O'Keefe is a "sustainability and green expert." She told council that she has been privileged to travel across the country looking at great development and really bad development. "I can't tell you how many times I have been in a community where they decided to knock down the old and dilapidated and bring in the new and shiny. Then, they looked around and said, 'Wow were not really able to differentiate ourselves from ten other communities within 15 miles. Why did we do that?”
O'Keefe also talked about the area surrounding the church as already being a cultural hub and source of economic activity for the community and immediate neighborhood, specifically mentioning the Loveland Artists Studios on Main.
In a letter announcing the grant, Paula Boggs Muething, Vice President of Community Revitalization for the Port Authority said, “We place a high value on the historic significance of this property and building in the Loveland community. Further, we believe that this project can be a catalyst for the sustainable, high quality development of nearby properties.” She said that the Land Reutilization Corporation considers the stabilization and preservation of the church an important project both for the City of Loveland and Hamilton County as a whole. We are excited to support the Committee in this endeavor and look forward to participating in the preservation of this community asset.”
After Loveland Magazine first reported on April 4 that the historic church was set for demolition, efforts to save it were amplified at the April 9 City Council meeting when four residents urged that it not be torn down. These LOVELAND MAGAZINE HD VIDEOS are of the speakers at that meeting.
For Background, video interviews, and a historic timeline read: Historic Review of Chestnut Street Church.
If you are interested in meeting with the Loveland residents who are trying to save the Church, or DONATING TIME OR PROVIDING THE REMAINING MONEY NEEDED TO PURCHASE THE CHURCH, send an E-Mail to Loveland Magazine and you will be put in touch with Oguah, Hamilton, Schickel and other organizers.
Editor's Note: Loveland Magazine is actively involved in efforts to restore the church by providing meeting space and other non-monetary support resources. Publisher, David Miller has donated personal funds for the restoration effort and is a member of The Loveland Predestinarian Church Preservation Committee.
This LOVELAND MAGAZINE HD VIDEO is Oguah, Schickel, Hamilton and other members of CPC making the $65K announcement at the council meeting.
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