Christmas wishes for Green Street Church

By STEVE REILLY Staff Writer for the Englewood Sun

Lemon Bay Historical Society treasurer Carol Garrett, president Charlie Hicks and vice president Esther Horton thank all those who donated to resettle the historic Green Street Church and Museum at the Lemon Bay Cemetery. SUN PHOTO BY CHRIS PORTER

ENGLEWOOD — The historic Green Street Church is settled in its new location at the Lemon
Bay Cemetery on South Indiana Avenue — but that doesn’t mean the work is completed.
The Lemon Bay Historical Society still needs help before the 90-year-old historic building can
be reopened to the public. The members put together a wish list they hope donors can help fill.
“We still need help financially and in-kind help,” Historical Society president Charlie Hicks
said. “We’re at a standstill.”

The project has proven expensive, far more so than anticipated. The nonprofit Historical
Society raised $161,000 through donations and grants of which $160,000 has been spent on
the project.

After a year-long wait, in September, in the middle of the night, R.E. Johnson & Sons movers
lifted the 90-year-old church onto a trailer, tied it down securely and inched it from its
longtime location on West Green Street to the Lemon Bay Cemetery on South Indiana Avenue
(State Road 776). The 1.1-mile journey took most of the night at around 4 mph.

The church was gently set down at the southeast corner of the cemetery, its new permanent
home. In October, the steeple — which was removed before the move — was placed atop the
church.

Since then, Leo Pfliger Construction, the Englewood contractor overseeing the project for the
Historic Society, began work on a retention pond that’s required by Sarasota County and
preparing the site for the finishing touches.

Historical Society members had hoped to reopen soon after the new year, but a lot more work
needs to be completed — such as landscaping, lighting, a parking area, handicap-accessible
ramp, and hook ups to utilities — before the county will issue its certificate of occupancy to the
Historical Society.

The Historical Society will have access to a $50,000 grant from the Sarasota CountyEnglewood Community Redevelopment Agency. However, the grant provides reimbursement
funds the Historical Society only receives after it completes all the work and garners permit
approvals required by Sarasota County. The historic building has to have its certificate of
occupancy before the county will release the $50,000.

“We can’t plan anything,” Hicks said.
Members are continuing their fundraising efforts. The Lemon Bay Garden Club, Florida Native
Plant Society and the Master Gardeners are all ready to assist with the landscaping, which is
also required by the county.

The church had been Englewood’s first house of worship and for years sat 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 have its “forever
home.”

The historic building hasn’t seen a religious service in decades, but the Historical Society
schedules weddings, memorial services, meetings and other community events at the church.
The Historical Society is now planning for a fundraiser 6 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Englewood
United Methodist Church, 700 E. Dearborn St. That happens to be the congregation that
originally built the church nine decades ago. The fundraiser will include a video highlighting
the move and a performance by John Tuff & Friends.

Email: reilly@sun-herald.com

Historic church wish list
The nonprofit Lemon Bay Historical Society depends upon donations and hopes donors will help fulfill their
wish for the reopening historic Green Street Church:
• Changeable letter sign for front of building
• Irrigation for landscape plants; soaker hoses. Maybe an irrigation well.
• Handicap signs.
• Concrete parking bumpers.
• Sidewalks completed.
• Solar-powered parking lights.
• 11 silver buttonwood trees.
• 109 cocoplum plants.
• Two black olive trees
• 14 bags of organic mulch.

 

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