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Article updated: 12/10/2012 5:09 PM

Stalemate continues between W. Dundee, church

By Lenore T. Adkins

West Dundee and First United Methodist Church have reached yet another impasse on how to handle the church's decaying parsonage and, as a result, both sides are heading back to court Tuesday morning.

As part of a draft settlement, the church agreed to patch the parsonage's roof to keep water from coming in while the village pursues a larger case against the church, which lists 14 code violations at the historic parsonage. In exchange for patching the roof, the village was to drop its emergency motion against the church. Village officials sought to force church leaders to fix a laundry list of structural issues at the parsonage and used the emergency motion as a means of doing so.

The small patching job on the roof was expected to cost $5,000 and the church asked the village to pay for it in the draft agreement.

But the village's understanding was that the church was going to pay for the work, since the parsonage is private property.

Neither side has agreed on who is going to pay for the roof work, so both will be in court on the village's original emergency order.

"The question becomes the rationale for the village of West Dundee paying the repairs," Village Manager Joe Cavallaro said. "I don't think that the village had bought into paying for that 100 percent because that's private property."

Thomas Sullivan, the attorney who represents the church, could not be reached for comment Monday. On Friday he described the money matter as a communication problem and said it was his understanding that the village would pay for the roof work.

The parsonage, at 310 Main St., dates back to 1849 and is one of the oldest homes in the village. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural and historic significance. The parsonage was built by Alfred Edwards, who sold it in 1850 and bought it 20 years later for his daughter, Ella, and her husband. The church bought the house in 1954 and used it as a parsonage until 2004.

While the village wants to keep the parsonage around and preserve its history, church leaders would rather raze the parsonage and turn the property it sits on into a parking lot.

Because the parsonage is in a historic district, the village board has final say over what happens to it. And the board has already thwarted the church's attempt to demolish it.

Village leaders have accused the church of deliberately dragging its feet and letting the parsonage continue to deteriorate until there's no choice but to demolish it.

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