Members of the historic First Congregational Church have voted to spend $1.8 million to reinforce the church superstructure and save it from demolition required by the city's strict earthquake ordinance, the church announced Wednesday.
One of hundreds of downtown buildings that must be upgraded or razed by 1991, the 72-year-old, red-brick church is the city's oldest and has long been considered an historic landmark.
Church members have already secured about $1.5 million in financing and expect to raise the remaining $300,000 by this fall, when reconstruction is scheduled to begin, said Rev. Bruce Talbert.
Holes will be drilled into the sanctuary's walls and steel rods inserted, said Talbert. The work should be completed in about a year.