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Organizers raise $75,000 to save historic Cumberland church from demolition

Photo provided by Town of Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, Ind. – Organizers said Wednesday that they raised more than $75,000 to save the historic church at the corner of German Church Road and Washington Street.

Last month, St. John United Church of Christ set a fundraising goal of $75,000 and a May 4 deadline to avoid demolition. The congregation extended the deadline after the campaign picked up momentum last week.

The Town of Cumberland and Indiana Landmarks said they raised $75,640 from 95 donors to spare the vacant church from demolition.

Indianapolis-based TWG Development LLC plans to convert the building into apartments for seniors, but the deal depends on affordable-housing tax credits. The awarding of those credits has been delayed because of the pending federal budget and the project is on a wait list.

“Raising $75,000 was a monumental undertaking and we are so thankful to have had Indiana Landmarks as a partner in this effort. It could not have been done without them,” said Cumberland Town Manager April Fisher. “The number of donations we received shows just how much the community values the German Church and is committed to its preservation.”

The money will keep the current agreement to purchase the building open until March 2018 and help the church pay for upkeep and maintenance costs.

Officials said TWG is in talks with the congregation about possibly extending the contract, allowing more time to determine if the project will be taken off the wait list for housing tax credits. It’s also possible that the project could be resubmitted for consideration.