Danbury officials have gotten the ball rolling on negotiations to preserve First Congregational Church of Danbury. The 110-year old building is across from City Hall. The parish is facing declining parish membership and donations.
Mayor Mark Boughton proposed using the space as a performing arts center, for offices or for classrooms.
Early talks call for a nominal fee from the Church to the City, possibly $1 per year, so services could continue to be held there. Corporation Counsel Les Pinter says the question of separation of church and state has been discussed in length, and will continue to be as the details are worked out. Boughton says three parishes are using city buildings currently.
Maintenance of the building, about $50,000 a year, would be turned over from the parish to the city for preservation. He notes that the cell tower generates about $11,000 from leases to telecom companies, which could offset some of the cost.
Councilman Paul Rotello says it's a great example of greek revival architecture and questioned why it doesn't have landmark status.
Negotiations will continue for about a month.