Six representatives from Wesley United Methodist Church attended Monday evening’s meeting of the Trenton Building and Nuisance Board to discuss the status of the tornado-damaged church at 9th and Washington Streets. The storm on May 6 tore two large holes in the roof of the 130-year-old church. The openings have since been covered with tarps, and Sunday services have been conducted in the basement.
Church board chairman Larry Bunnell stated that a structural engineer, hired by the insurance company, has advised Wesley United Methodist to abandon the use of the building, meaning no one should be inside for services or any other activities.
Bunnell further explained that the church roof, originally made of slate shingles, has been replaced with composite shingles. Due to the church’s construction, the walls are not attached to the rafters. The structural engineer believes that the walls might have weakened over the years, making the building potentially unsafe. Bunnell mentioned that the report has been shared with Kramer Construction to conduct a cost analysis to determine if repairs are feasible. The congregation was informed of the situation during services last Sunday morning. By Monday, efforts began to remove belongings and files. Currently, the church premises are roped off. The city has proposed adding barricades to warn pedestrians of potential danger.
The Building and Nuisance Board, as a whole, expressed its willingness to support the church. The leaders have been invited to the October 23 meeting to provide an update. No action was taken by the Trenton board Monday evening regarding declaring the building a nuisance.