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All Souls Church seeks CPC funding for repairs

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  August 19, 2011 08:41 AM

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All Souls Church in Braintree hopes to begin repairs as early as next month.

After years of dealing with a leaky roof, broken gutters, and a waterlogged basement, All Souls Church in Braintree is looking to the town for repairs.

The organization requested money from the Community Preservation Committee, which then recommended the appropriation of $82,500 to the Town Council last week.

The money would go to repairing and replacing the gutter and downspouts, reslating the roof, repairing some trim, replacing roof caps where the roof joins together, and doing some masonry work on the tower area, town officials said.

Councilors will look at the funding request at their next meeting, but according to John Cobble, a member of the Church’s Building and Grounds Committee who is heading up the construction, the repairs are a necessity.

“One area we need to fix is the roof of the tower, which leaks and has been leaking for awhile. They will put a new roof on that,” Cobble said. “The other area is the replacement of the gutter system. Some of it has come off, and some has holes in it and can’t be repaired. In severe storms, that leads to water leaking into the basement of the church, which has done some damage before. We’re hopeful [new gutters] will relieve that problem.”

The church will also attempt to fund an additional $20,000 to $30,000 to repaint some of the exterior. According to Cobble, they are looking to other grants and state funding for that money.

They are all important parts of renovating and preserving the 108-year-old church, located at 196 Elm St.

But before any restoration can take place with the town’s money, councilors must give the building a historical preservation restriction.

“It’s like a lien on the property,” said Planning Director Christine Stickney. “If the church was ever to sell the property, they would reimburse back to the CPA, but not if they are there to maintain it and its historic character. They couldn’t just restore the building with the funds and then tear the structure down and build something new and modern. It protects the structure.”

If approved, the work would be done in phases as they town hands the organization money for each phase.

Although the funding hasn't been approved, Cobble is hopeful the restoration can start by September.

“Then we’ll sit down with the contractor to time out how long it will take,” he said.

Some volunteer work may help expedite the process, though most will have to be contracted out, Cobble said.

The church serves a regular congregation of 50-75 people, and membership is as high as 150 people, Cobble said.

Although the finished repairs are still a bit of a ways off for the church attendees, “we’re hopeful,” Cobble said.

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