The peeling and flaking paint on the tower and balustrade of the church building has been a source of distress, consternation, puzzlement and frustration to many members and friends of the Church over the past few years.  Most people would like First Congregational to present a “good face” to the community and feel that the condition of the paint gives us a shabby face instead. In addition to looking dreadful, the peeling 80-year-old paint also exposes the metal underneath to rust and decay and the paint chips falling to the ground likely contain lead.

The Property Board and other knowledgeable folks have been wrestling with this problem for over a year. Unfortunately, because the original paint and some later layers contain lead, there is no simple and inexpensive solution.  Instead, all the paint must be removed slowly and carefully to ensure that we do not release lead into the air and unintentionally expose children and neighbors. This is a very labor intensive and expensive process but, once it is done and we apply modern primer and paint, the tower and balustrade should be protected and look good for many years. Most of the bids we have received for this work contemplate using scaffolding around the Church and have been for over half a million dollars.

While repainting the balustrade and tower was one of the proposed uses for Reach and Renew funds, in the intermediate level, we estimated the cost of that painting as about $250,000. With all of the exciting growth projects we hope to promote with Reach and Renew, no one wants to commit almost half of our remaining Reach and Renew money to a maintenance project.

Recently, the Property Board became aware of a much less costly process for removing old paint and repainting.  There is a company based in Rockford, Illinois, that uses the old fashioned method of steeplejacks (think rock climbers on the roof) who suspend themselves with ropes from the tower and roof and require a minimum of equipment and, therefore, expense. Based on very positive reviews from prior church customers, the Property Board and Executive Council think that engaging this company, Inspired Heights, to complete our painting project this summer for their bid of $315,000 is a good idea.

In order to pay for the painting job, including a contingency, and the $170,000 in other Reach and Renew projects already approved by the Congregation, we will need to borrow from the Church Foundation the same way we did for the heating and air conditioning system installation. That original loan has now been repaid. Therefore, Executive Council is recommending that the Congregation approve the painting project and borrowing from the Foundation to pay for it. The loan from the Foundation will be repaid from Reach and Renew pledges as they are received.

In addition, the Executive Council would like the Congregation to approve seeking donations from a few members who may feel called to support this specific project. Any such donations will reduce the amount of Reach and Renew funds spent on the project. We will not ask nor expect most members to make additional donations on top of the tremendous generosity shown in the Reach and Renew Campaign.

These proposals will be brought to a Congregational Meeting following worship on June 30. The proposed resolutions can be found on the Church website, by clicking here, or can be sent to you by the Church Office.


Posted on June 25, 2013 at 9:39 am in Featured Content.

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