On August 21, around 30 people attended the community meeting at the Lyle Presbyterian Church (Mound Church). Topics discussed included the current condition of the building, community comment, options and costs for renovation, and the direction the church should take. Other topics included funding and grants already pursued.
The sanctuary was built in 1914 and the fellowship hall was an old homestead that was added to the building in 1923. Both buildings have crumbling cement foundations, one of which includes scoria in the matrix. Damage is visible. Both buildings have original wood siding which is in poor condition. The buildings also have had roof leaks. One section of the sanctuary has a metal roof, but the rest is wood shakes. The fellowship hall is asphalt shingle. Water has entered the building between the two buildings and caused damage in the kitchen.
Additionally, many animals have moved into the building. There are several holes in the foundation through which animals have entered and made homes. Additionally, the attic area is infested with mice and carpeted in urine and feces. This creates an unpleasant smell in the right weather.
The building currently lacks running water. So, the restroom facilities are old-fashioned outhouses which are also in poor condition. They also have animal incursion and leaks. Several people have cited the outhouses as a reason why they will not attend the church.
There are two options on the table. At a minimum, a renovation of the existing facilities and addition of a plumbed restroom is estimated to cost around $75,000, assuming that there are no unpleasant surprises. Due to the condition of the fellowship hall, another option is demolition and replacement of this part of the building, with the inclusion of a restroom and a more usable floor plan. This option is estimated to cost around $150,000. Both options will require a lot of local volunteer work.
Those in attendance voted for the $150,000 goal. The church will work on fundraising and hold another community meeting late in the fall to evaluate progress toward goals, and discuss options based on funding received. There may also be some options of getting funding, including splitting off the fellowship hall into a separate community center, a GoFundMe, and publicity. There are also different options for local fundraising.
The hope is to preserve this historic building in its rural location. Funds raised will be used toward this in whatever way is possible with the funds raised.