Land Bank seeks pledges to support St. Anthony building if it is acquired; interior photos, report released

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - After weeks of negotiations, Lucas County Land Bank is still considering accepting the St. Anthony church building that has been pledged to it by the Diocese of Toledo -- and it now is gauging the amount of community support it would receive.

The land bank would be the steward of the building at the corner of Nebraska and Junction avenues and is asking those who were interested parties in saving the building and property to "personally pledge your time and your creative energy toward the work of redeveloping the building."

To that end, it issued a news release and asks people to make pledges to "see this project through to success."

"The Land Bank is also asking for your grace in the face of an extraordinary undertaking. The Land Bank is not accepting the building because it believes it will be a perfect owner; instead the Land Bank is becoming the owner of last resort to see it preserved," the letter said.

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, who is also the chairman of the Land Bank Board, said they won't know the cost of renovation until they know what the building will be used for.

Kapszukiewicz estimates the short-term preservation to be around $150,000 to keep the building in good shape, then $10,000 a year for maintenance after that.

But, he says right now the city has no financial commitment. It is possible the city could use CDBG, or Community Development Block Grant dollars from the federal government if the building's future use meets the requirements.

For this to move forward, board members say the land bank must enter into a reasonable agreement with the Catholic Diocese.

Land bank leaders say they need to see a significant number of neighbors to step forward saying they will give money to preserve the building before Thursday.
Then the Padua Center, whose building sits right behind the church, must have its board meet to accept the land.
And then, the land bank must establish a committee to work on this project moving forward for the next year.

The deadline the Diocese gave the land bank is on June 26 at noon.
Land bank leaders will take the next three days to see how much interest there is in the community to support this project, and then plan to move forward from there.

The land bank also released a report from LKL Engineers, which completed a preliminary review of the church building. The engineers made visual observations on the exterior of the church from the ground floor and inspected the interior on the nave floor, balcony floor and in the crawl space. The engineers' notes included observing:

  • Exterior brick walls and stone work in relatively good condition, with a localized area of weathered brick and missing mortar visible. Structural cracks are visible in the exterior walls and "cracks in the front wall along junction are significant.
  • The roof is in good condition. "It appears that the down spouts may have leaked in the past or may be actively leaking."
  • The bell tower and steeple appear to be in relatively good condition. "Front the round, the steeple and bell tower appears to be straight and plumb. We did not observe any missing or loose brick and the steeple framing appears to be intact."
  • The ceiling and plastered walls are in good condition.
  • The floors of the nave, chancel and loft are in good condition. "We did not observe any floor sagging, wood rot or insect damage."
  • There are no indications of excessive foundation settlement.
  • Inspection of the steeple framing by a professional steeple jack should be considered.
  • Closer inspection of the cornice should be considered to ensure that no areas of the cornice are loose.

The engineers summarized that the structure is in good condition.

"Minor repairs and regular maintenance of the roof, gutters and down spouts, doors and windows could preserve this building its current condition for a period of ten to fifteen years," the report read.

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