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updated: 7/7/2011 4:56 PM

W. Dundee waiting to meet with church about house

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  • The parsonage at First United Methodist Church in West Dundee remains the subject of debate. Preservationists want to save the historic building, but church leaders have said they want to tear it down because it's in bad shape and of no use.

       The parsonage at First United Methodist Church in West Dundee remains the subject of debate. Preservationists want to save the historic building, but church leaders have said they want to tear it down because it's in bad shape and of no use.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

 
 

The fate of a historic West Dundee home that dates back to the 1840s remains in limbo.

After a little more than three weeks, village officials are still waiting to meet with leadership from First United Methodist Church to save the house.

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The church owns the house at 310 W. Main St., used it as a parsonage from 1954 to 2004 and would prefer to demolish it.

Meanwhile, the Dundee Township Historic Society this week threw its support behind the village's plan to keep the parsonage.

On June 13, Village Manager Joe Cavallaro proposed saving the parsonage by matching the money the church reserved for its demolition and using the combined funds to fix up the 162-year-old parsonage as best they can. While this goes on, both parties and community stakeholders would develop a plan for the parsonage's future use.

The church has delegated the matter to Dale Pryor, chairman of its board. And last week, he brought the rest of the body up to speed on the issue.

But because Pryor is dealing with a personal matter it is not known when he will arrange the meeting with Cavallaro,

"We're trying to get the meeting set up as soon as possible," Cavallaro said.

Any decision on the church's end also requires a vote from its administrative board, its 260 members and the committee from the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church that deals with property, said the Rev. Steve Mindrup, the church's pastor and a member of its board.

The church wants to raze the parsonage, which its leadership says has fallen into severe disrepair after years of neglect, and replace it with a parking lot or expand the church into the empty space. Mindrup realizes demolition is an unlikely proposition where the village is concerned.

"We're trying to find a way to do something constructive with the building that wouldn't involve taking it down but we ... need to have a further discussion with the village to clarify their position," Mindrup said.

Moreover, the Dundee Township Historical Society weighed in on the issue Tuesday, with nine trustees on its 12-member board backing the village's plans to save the parsonage -- three members were not in attendance, Acting President Marge Edwards said.

"We can't help financially. All we can do is give our support and keep our fingers crossed that something can be done and that it can be saved," Edwards said.

She said there aren't many buildings from the 1840s left in the township. "Personally, I feel it would be a shame to lose it."

Mindrup declined to disclose how much the church has saved for the demolition, but said the project was expected to cost $20,000. He also estimates it will cost $300,000 to bring the building up to code.

The matter has dragged on since 2006, but finally came to a head three weeks ago when the village decided to act on salvaging the house to avoid further deterioration.

The parsonage was built as a house in 1849 by Alfred Edwards. He sold the house in 1850 and bought it 20 years later for his daughter, Ella, and her husband, and Episcopal priest. Alfred and Marge Edwards are not related, she said.

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