Zion steeple to come down Thursday, weather permitting


By Jim Poole

The top part of Zion Lutheran Church's steeple will come off this week for safety's sake.
Struck by lightning and partially burned on February 25, the top portion could fall if it's not removed, according to Pastor Sara Litzner.
"Everything is about safety right now," she said.
A contractor, engineer and insurance adjustor are expected today, Wednesday. A large crane to begin the steeple work is scheduled for Thursday, weather permitting.
The crane and crew won't be able to work on the 167-foot steeple if winds are stronger than 12 miles per hour, Pastor Litzner said.
When the work is done, the top 35 to 40 feet will be removed and the remainder secured so that rain and snow won't get inside the church.
Although the congregation held worship services in a church conference room the day after the fire, the grounds are off limits now.
"The danger right now is that the steeple could fall over," Pastor Litzner said. "There were eight braces at the top, and only three are there now. It's like a wind tunnel in there."
Once the steeple is removed and the top covered, the congregation will decide how to proceed. Members could rebuild the steeple as it was or build a smaller steeple.
"We'll have to plan for what we finally want to do," said Lisa Cardilli, president of the Church Council. "We'll see how this week goes."
Zion has an agreement with the nearby Head Start Center to use each other's buildings when necessary. The congregation held services in the Head Start building this past Sunday and will do so again this week, Pastor Litzner said.
"We can go back in the church when it's safe," she said.