The Reporter (Lansdale, PA)
Coming into focus
Renovations near to convert former church to community center
NORTH WALES >> The next few weeks could provide final details for the long-discussed renovation of a church to a community center on Main Street.
“I have a very minor update — it’s not minor, it’s a pretty big update,” said borough Manager Christine Hart.
Through much of 2022, council and staff have discussed an estimated $3.2 million project to renovate a former church, built in 1908, and office addition built in 1974 at 125 N. Main Street, which housed the congregation of St. Luke’s Church until their final services last April.
Council bought the building in late 2016 as church members sought to address a dwindling and aging membership base, and the borough has since rented the attached office space for art classes and use by local nonprofits.
Throughout last year, council and staff discussed a need to upgrade and modernize the facilities with air conditioning, widened doors, gas heat instead of oil, and conversion into flexible space for shared use by local nonprofits or agencies to work in a local setting during emergencies such as the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last July the manager announced that North Wales had been conditionally awarded $1.2 million in grant funding via Montgomery County, and council applied for a second grant seeking $1 million from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant program.
Council also sought proposals for, then hired in mid-October, an outside consultant to work with the manager to refine and finalize designs for the project and oversee construction, and that second $1 million grant was officially awarded in late October, and appeared in the form of a large check presented by state Rep. Liz Hanbidge (D-61st) to council in November.
The church has since hosted several free public organ concerts through January ahead of the start of work, and the manager has said the renovations will likely run though 2023 and into early 2024. During her manager’s report on Feb. 14, Hart brought council up to speed on what’s happened since, and next steps she and council president Sal Amato will take soon.
“We did meet with the architect and the planner, to go over the preliminary steps for the pandemic relief funding, for the community center,” she said.
“We will be meeting again sometime in March, at which time I will reach out to the buildings and grounds subcommittee, and most likely Mr. Amato, and we’ll get down into a little bit more of the detail before we go into bidding out the project and selecting materials,” she said.
North Wales borough council next meets at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the borough municipal building, 300 School Street. For more information visit www.NorthWalesBorough.org.