Plans advance for old St. Paul’s Church

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2000

After this winter, hopes are high that the former St.

Thursday, October 05, 2000

After this winter, hopes are high that the former St. Paul’s Lutheran Church will sit empty no more. It will sit open instead.

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Austin Park and Recreation Director Denny Maschka explained that plans for the church are to knock out all the doors and windows, leaving the building open year-round. The basement will be filled in and concrete flooring poured. The parsonage on the east side of the building will be removed, and that side "healed" so it fits with the rest of the building.

The city has set aside $120,000 for the renovation work that will turn the flood plain site into a picnic and gathering site.

"If all goes well, hopefully people will be able to use the church by next spring," Maschka said, adding that he had instructed the architects to let bids on the construction within the month. "It’s getting pretty late in the season now, but this is work that also can be done over the winter."

When the city’s work on Main Street South is finished, attention will shift to First Street SW, which will be cut off and replaced by a cul-de-sac at the bottom of the hill. A parking lot between the bandshell and the former church will be constructed, with vehicle access from Ninth Place SW only. City Engineer Jon Erichson said the city will "certainly" get to First Street this fall, barring natural disaster. Main Street South should be open next week to traffic, although work on boulevards still will need to be finished.

"A lot of how quickly things will happen depends on the weather," Maschka said.