East Topeka United Methodist Church Could Face Demolition


TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- A Topeka church that has been around for more than 100 years may meet the fate of the wrecking ball.

The city council will consider the fate of East Topeka United Methodist church Tuesday.

This church holds many memories for its 15 members. While some say repairing the building isn't feasible, others say its history should be saved.

Beautiful windows illuminate the inside of the East Topeka United Methodist Church. Sarah Bremer Parks has admired them since she was 4-years-old and her father was the church's pastor at one time.

"There's still a future for this building, it's gorgeous. It really has a lot of potential. And I think this type of architecture and this kind of a building in history is really important to preserve," said Parks.

The Kansas East Conference United Methodist Church owns the property at 708 S.E. Lime Street and plans to demolish the church.

They say asbestos in the walls is just one of the problems.

"We felt like its served its time. It was a beautiful church. We loved it, but it's too much work to get it fixed up. It would cost a fortune," said longtime member and former church treasurer, Ruth Lichtenstern.

"It doesn't have any water service or sewer service. It needs lots of repairs. It's my understanding that the estimate is it would cost $143,000 to be able to do the repairs and it makes more sense to put that money towards other uses," said Reverend and Topeka District Superintendent, Kay Scarbrough.

The Fellowship and Faith Ministry building behind the church would remain and continue offering a food pantry and community classes.

The Topeka Planning Commission recommended against demolition due to the area's historic value. And Parks hopes the city council agrees.

"It is important to the neighborhood and the city," said Parks.

If the city council approves demolition, members would likely move to Highland Park United Methodist Church.

The Kansas East Conference has no definite plans for what would be put in the church's place.


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