Church Demolition Battle

By: Koula Gianulias
By: Koula Gianulias

Construction on First Presbyterian Church in Carson City started 144 years ago and was completed thanks to the help of Mark Twain who raised $200 to finish the roof. But the congregation has grown tremendously since them….up to 500 people today. That’s why Senior Pastor Bruce Kochsmeier and many of his parishioners want to tear it down, to build a new church twice the size. There are also safety concerns. They haven’t worshipped in the structure since 2001 because it’s deteriorating. Kochsmeier says they respect the historical significance of the building, and will make an effort to incorporate original elements – like bricks and furnishings - into the new design.
But that's not enough to satisfy upset residents and historians....outraged by the idea of demolition. They shared their concerns with Carson City's Historic Resources Committee...the group that will consider the church’s request to tear it down. Committee members agreed that the building should be rehabilitated, and proposed finding a way to raise more money to save the structure and expand it. It was an offer that was turned down by the church during Thursday night’s meeting. As Pastor Kochsmeier explained, the church’s mission is only to raise enough money for the new structure. He says funds that go above and beyond would be better spent on others with greater needs in Carson City, or anywhere else in the nation.
After close to three hours of discussion, the committee put the matter on hold until its next meeting.


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