130-year-old Wesley United Methodist Church declared a nuisance

Trenton Building and Nuisance Board

Trenton’s Building and Nuisance Board on Monday night voted to declare a nuisance at 113 East 9th Street. That’s the location of the Wesley United Methodist Church, which sustained considerable roof damage in the May 6 tornado in Trenton. Representatives of the church attended the building board meeting to give an update.

Board Chairman Larry Bunnell provided a statement written by Pastor Bob Voels that noted the Wesley congregation met Sunday to discuss matters related to the overall mission and future ministry of the church. At the conclusion of the meeting, Pastor Voels reported a majority of those present voted in favor of “moving to the final step of the decision-making process” regarding the future of the current Wesley building. In accordance with established procedures of the United Methodist Church, the pastor has contacted the District Superintendent, requesting a formal church conference be held as soon as possible. Ultimately, he wrote, it will be the Wesley members who make any final decisions, and the church will follow established denominational procedures.

Speaking with the Building Board, Bunnell stated the congregation’s vote, essentially, was to “move on” from the 130-year-old building. But he emphasized that isn’t a final decision until a meeting can be held with the District Superintendent. The choices were to tear it down or make repairs. Bunnell told the board the repair estimate to fix the two large holes in the roof and to redo the inside of the sanctuary is $1.1 million.

With the city adding Wesley United Methodist Church to the nuisance list, Building Inspector Wes Barone will mail a certified letter to the office of the District Superintendent, advising of the decision that the building board made. This means the church building will be up for review at next month’s meeting. In the meantime, Bunnell said a chain-link fence would be erected at the church property to provide further protection for the public.

Barone told of work being done in the parking lot of the former Lakeview Restaurant and Motel. But more, he said, needs to be done, especially with the lower parking lot on the west side of the property.

Barone also is to meet with the Eastgate Shopping Center owner, Jason Lassiter, regarding the hole in the roof of the former Penny’s store.

The board voted to declare a nuisance at 500 East 8th Street. Advancing to public hearings next month are 2002 Lulu Street and a garage at 2105 Princeton Road. Barone noted a demolition permit has been purchased for 2002 Lulu. Moved to the findings of fact was 2201 Park Lane. With the owners present, 2102 Park Lane was granted a 30-day extension to allow time for more work to be done.

1717 Chicago Street was removed from the list after Barone provided board members with recent photos of the cleaned-up property.