Preservationists Oppose Partial Demolition Of Logan Square Church

(CBS) – The future of a historic church on Chicago’s North Side is up in the air. Some want to demolish part of it, others are pushing for preservation.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.

Grace United Methodist Church has been at the corner of Wrightwood and Kimball in the Logan Square neighborhood for more than a century.

“It’s something that many, many people who have lived here for a long time will recognize and feel close to in their heart,” says Andrew Schneider, president of Logan Square Preservation.

His organization has collected 200 signatures to stop a church effort to demolish part of the structure and construct an apartment building.

“You would have to use extraordinary care to protect what remains standing, and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a scenario where the city of Chicago comes in and says, ‘Hey, you’ve compromised this thing, it all needs to come down now,’” Schneider says.

Rev. Mark Schol, the church pastor, says the plan is for an  unused part of the church to be repurposed and leased to a developer, to create around 20 apartment units.

“This plan is not seeking to gentrify the neighborhood. It is seeking to work with the neighborhood to bring in a more units of affordable housing and continue our mission to help the last, the lost and the least,” Schol says.

The pastor gave CBS 2 a tour of the building and noted renovating the part of the church that would be replaced would cost up to $2 million.

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