The Fairport Perinton Merchants Association has committed up to $50,000 to the effort to preserve the Fairport First Baptist Church and transform it into a center for performing arts.
The initiative is being undertaken by the Fairport Perinton Partnership for a Better Community, which last fall announced an agreement with trustees of the church to explore the feasibility of the plan with the intention of assuming ownership.
Jim Smith, president of the Fairport Perinton Partnership, said the merchant’s funding supports the costs of a comprehensive structural assessment of the church, which stands on the northwest corner of Main Street and Church Street in Fairport.
The evaluation is currently underway by SWBR Architects & Engineers P.C.
“Once again, the Fairport Perinton Merchants have stepped up to support an important local project,” Smith said in a statement. “This landmark structure has been a part of our community for the past 141 years, and we are hoping to maintain it as a vibrant entity long into the future.”
The Fairport First Baptist Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and was designated a Fairport Village landmark in December 2008.
Scott Winner, executive director of the Fairport Perinton Partnership, said the sanctuary of the church “is in very good condition, but the external envelope of the building is in critical need of repair and restoration—and this is no small undertaking.”
If the agreement between the Partnership and the church is finalized, the Partnership will begin seeking grants to fund the necessary restoration, renovation and ongoing maintenance, he added.
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