Work begins on $2.2M church steeple restoration in Iowa
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Work is underway on a $2.2 million restoration of the former St. Mary Catholic Church’s steeple in Dubuque.
Steeple Square officials began the project last month by setting up extensive scaffolding around the steeple, The Telegraph Herald reported . The project includes repairing the steeple roof and exterior, installing new interior ladder systems and revamping the clock and old bell system.
“It’s going to be an extensive restoration of the entire steeple,” said Duane Hagerty, CEO of Heritage Works, an agency tasked with aiding restoration efforts. “We want to get everything working again.”
While the steeple’s three bells are in good condition, the system that operates them and the clock that timed their ringing hasn’t worked for years, Hagerty said. The bells will be programed to ring periodically throughout the day once the work is completed he said.
“It is such an important landmark of Dubuque that has welcomed so many that have come to the city,” Hagerty said. “It’s important to keep that legacy. It’s important for future generations.”
Most of the funding for the project has been raised through private donations, Hagerty said. The steeple is expected to be completed by October.
The project is part of a larger revitalization effort of the neighborhood surrounding the former church, said John Schmidt, the vice president of the Steeple Square Board of Directors, which has taken over the church complex.
“The steeple really serves as a beacon for the area,” Schmidt said. “This is about impacting the whole area in a positive way.”
Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com