ENGLEWOOD — Charlie Hicks watched as work crews secured the steeple onto the Historic Green Street Church Monday.
Dallas Berlin with her sister, Kelli — both working for their father’s Frank Berlin Crane — gingerly lifted and then eased the steeple atop the church. A Leo Pfliger Construction crew fastened and secured the steeple in place.
“It’s one more step,” said Hicks, president of the Lemon Bay Historical Society that’s been working to see the historic Englewood church settle into its new home at the Lemon Bay Cemetery on State Road 776.
A month ago, R.E. Johnson & Sons movers set the 90-year-old church onto a trailer, tied down it down securely and inched its way at around 4 mph for its historic 1.1-mile journey from West Green Street to the cemetery.
The Green Street Church, Englewood’s first house of worship, had been on property the Historical Society leased from the Crosspoint Church of the Nazarene on West Green Street. The Historical Society bought property at the cemetery so the church can now have a “forever home.”
“Actually, I think things are now moving fast because we had to wait so long for the move,” Hicks said.
Leo Pfliger Construction is overseeing the project for the Historic Society and is expected to begin digging a retention pond this week that’s required by Sarasota County. A lot more work needs to be completed — such as landscaping, lighting, a parking area, handicap-accessible ramp, hook up to utilities — before the county will issue its certificate of occupancy to the Historical Society.
The entire project was expected to cost $200,000, but will probably be more, maybe much more than originally expected. Prices keep going up as the economy keeps improving, Hicks and other Historical Society board members suggested.
The nonprofit Historical Society has been able to set aside $170,000 through donations and grants. Members are continuing their fundraising efforts.
For more information, visit lemonbayhistory.com or call 941-473-8491. Donations for the church can be made online or mailed to Lemon Bay Historical Society, P.O. Box 1245, Englewood FL 34295.