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Kinsgton Presbyterian Church Gets Historic Preservation Commission Approval For Steeple Renovation

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Kingston Presbyterian Church received Historic Preservation Advisory Commission approval for a planned $224,000 renovation of its church steeple.

The Kingston Presbyterian Church on March 4 received the go-ahead from the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission to use “modern” materials in the restoration of the church steeple.

That restoration also means that a church bell will once again ring from the steeple, the commission was told.

The commission had to review the plans because Kingston is a state- and nationally designated historic district.

The project, estimated to cost about $224,000, will replace the steeple’s wooden vault and spire supports with steel, create an aluminum spire and coat the structure’s tower with a durable polymer.

“The intent is to maintain the look and size, color and everything, but to do it with materials that are more durable,” said Brad Clifton, a member of the church’s building committee. “It will look like what the church looked like in 1962.”

Clifton and Scott Hodge, a church Elder and chair of the building committee, told the commission that the wooden steeple – built in 1855 – hasn’t had a major renovation since 1982, and is badly in need of one.

“It’s in a state now where it needs a lot of work,” Clifton said. “Every five to 10 years, something breaks, something wears out.”

“We’ve been maintaining it for 150 years, and now it’s getting hard to do,” Clifton said.

The two told the commission that while the preferred renovation method’s cost is much higher than the $92,000 it would cost to paint and traditionally refurbish the steeple, the long-term costs differ greatly.

Replacing the steeple structure with more modern materials would result in an estimated 40-year maintenance cost of about $397,000, they said, while the more traditional method would cost about $1 million in that same time frame.

Hodge told the commission that teh church’s bell will be retrofitted with an automatic bell-ringer, “so the bell will ring again.”

Commission vice chairman Tom Gale told the two that if they had proposed a more modern design, their plan “would have been hard to approve.”

“I think you’ve met my issues very well,” he said.

“You’re saving the tower,” added commission chairman Andrew Burian.

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