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Local group wants to preserve East Wheeling church

Updated: Monday, November 4 2013, 05:21 PM EST

By Jon Rudder

WHEELING, W.Va - Built in 1837 and known around Wheeling as the "blue" church, a building is now up for sale and one local group would like to purchase it with plans to put it to good use.

The church is owned by the Church of God and Saints of Christ, which is looking to sell the building, and the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp. is an interested buyer.

While the outside of the building may look old and worn down, with some special attention the corporation sees a creative arts facility in the making.

"The national heritage corporation has been involved in the restoration of a number of buildings, including the Capitol Theatre and the restoration of it," said. Jeremy Morris, executive director for the WNHA. "So we have quite a bit of expertise in the office in terms of overseeing the restoration."

Morris sees the building as a useful concert facility with a unique niche because of its size.

"The sanctuary is a beautiful performing arts space. It would be fantastic for choral concerts or opera -- West Liberty Hilltop Light Opera could come down and perform," Morris said. "It could be an alternative venue of the blues festival throughout the year."

Preserving the church will require extended renovations to the roof and facade, but the importance of saving another unique structure in East Wheeling is the group's primary concern.

"I think it's an important building in the city to save, obviously it's a unique piece of architecture," Morris said. "Architecture is one of the great assets Wheeling has and just striking in nature, so I think it would be a great save."

Morris said his gorup has been in contact with the current owners for a purchase agreement; however, one hasn't yet been finalized. He would not comment on any selling price for the building but did seem hopeful that they would be able get a deal done.

Local group wants to preserve East Wheeling church

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