UPDATE: Read about new developments in this story.
Preservationists believe it’s a good sign that a historic York church headed for demolition is now for sale.
The asking price for Trinity United Methodist’s building on East King Street is $225,000.
“The desire here is to find someone who can use the structure, make the repairs and continue making the church a useful part of the community,” David Keech, owner of Rock Commercial Realty, told Preservation magazine, a publication of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“The church is trying to keep everyone happy. Which is not any easy task.”
The congregation has been under pressure from preservationists and some community members to seek an alternative to the wrecking ball. The small congregation can’t afford the repair costs needed to remedy the 1897 building’s failing truss system, church leaders have said.
The asking price is significantly less than the property’s $752,000 assessed value — a reflection of the repair costs needed to make the building usable, Keech told Preservation. As of Monday, three congregations had expressed interest, as well as an institutional buyer who toured the property, he said.
In the meantime, York’s fire department extended the congregation’s deadline to repair or demolish the building. The magazine said church leaders were unavailable for comment.
In February, the City of York condemned Trinity United Methodist Church in York because of a failing truss system that could no longer support the roof. Members had been meeting off-site since the fall.
The fire department ordered the congregation to repair or demolish the building at 241 E. King St. UMC leaders say Trinity’s membership can’t afford the estimated $400,000 in repairs but still hope to continue ministry at the location, perhaps through a community center serving youth and others with educational and recreational activities.
Preservationists want the church to find an alternative to demolition — such as adapting the building for some other use.
Trinity United Methodist Church in York was established in 1871 as an English-speaking mission of the Evangelical Association of York. Members withdrew from a German-speaking church later known as Bethlehem Evangelical Church.
A small frame chapel was built later that year on East King Street on a plot purchased from the York County Agricultural Society for $1,050.
The current building was dedicated in 1897. The architect, H.E. Yessler, is known for designing York’s underground bathrooms.
In January, Trinity’s membership voted 57-11 to merge with another church.