ENGLEWOOD — Charlie Hicks was up early Saturday, happy to see a Leo Pfliger Construction crew pouring concrete at the Green Street Church Museum.
Meanwhile, adjacent to the historic church, Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary members spent their morning finishing the installation of a 310-foot picket fence along the perimeter of the equally historic Lemon Bay Cemetery on South Indiana Avenue.
The Englewood-based Pfliger Construction is the lead contractor working to get the historic church settled in its new “forever home” for the Lemon Bay Historical Society. The construction crew poured cement for what will be a 2,150-square-foot handicap parking lot behind the building and a cement pad for an air conditioner.
To save the 90-year-old church, which was Englewood’s first house of worship, the Historical Society took on a task in September of moving it one mile from its longtime location on West Green Street to the State Road, where it now sits adjacent to the historic Lemon Bay Cemetery.
The move was only the start of the effort to settle into place.
The Historical Society members now must meet Sarasota County development requirements before they can reopen the building for meetings and other community events.
And while the Historical Society folks saw progress on their building, the Sunrise Rotarians finished their work on the fence.
Members of the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary have joined historic cemetery’s nonprofit board of trustees recently, and have taken over its maintenance.
The Sunrise Rotary has already begun its oversight of the cemetery with the planting of new sapling trees and installing a perimeter fence along S.R. 776, in addition to cleaning headstones and the cemetery grounds ahead of special occasions.
Future organized cleanups and other projects will need the community to join in and help maintain what’s been a historic landmark.
In the late 1800s, Englewood’s settlers laid their loved ones to rest on the high and dry sandy ridge that would become the cemetery grounds.
On May 10, 1900, the land for the cemetery was deeded to the “citizens of the Lemon Bay” and was overseen by the original trustees, John H. and Florence V. Hill. The cemetery is still overseen by a volunteer trust that doesn’t have the fiscal wherewithal for maintenance.
And now, both the Lemon Bay Historical Society and the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary have taken on the mantel to preserve the community’s past.