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Repairs in sight for Christ Episcopal Church in Sackets Harbor

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SACKETS HARBOR — Work is expected to begin soon on Christ Episcopal Church, following years of fundraising and state support that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The first part of the development project, which features repairs to the building’s roof trusses and framing, along with renovations to its bell tower, is expected to start within the next few days.

“We’re hoping to start as soon as the construction crew can show up,” said Bishop Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams III of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York.

The 207 E. Main St. church has been closed since August 2006, when a pair of rafters in the building’s roof gave way and knocked three large limestone pieces from the side of the building.

The initial repair work is expected to cost $238,000, which is being paid for by a combination of diocese money, local contributions and a grant from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation that will reimburse half the diocese’s cost.

The building has been a mainstay of the village for generations, and its membership has included President Ulysses S. Grant, New York City Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia and New York City Opera Company performer Frances L. Bible.

“We want to be good stewards of that, and recognize that history,” Bishop Adams said.

Prior to the soon-to-begin construction work, the church spent $50,000 making emergency repairs immediately after the initial problems in 2006, with money for those repairs coming from an insurance settlement.

Planning for the new repairs has been underway for years. Bishop Adams said the process, which he said has “taken much longer than any of us expected,” has included a number of regulatory hurdles and questions over the years about whether state funds would be available to support the project.

“It looks like we’ve gotten it to a successful point,” he said. The bishop added that the state has been very supportive.

Bishop Adams said he was hopeful that with the church building repaired, a renewed gospel presence could take hold in Sackets.

“We’re hoping to see it, because of the resurgence of life in Sackets Harbor itself and the way the beautiful community has come together,” he said. “We’re hoping we can contribute in a positive way and be a positive influence.”

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