It’s been a mixed-bag week for the historic-church preservation effort. First United Methodist Church near Tacoma’s Wright Park celebrated its final service Sunday; the building will soon be torn down to make way for MultiCare’s emergency room expansion. Just days before, the Seattle church by the same name was spared a similar fate when high-rise developer Martin Selig withdrew his offer for the church property.
With the loss of Tacoma’s First United all but assured now, attention must turn to the other historic churches that face the same dilemma of trying to maintain aging buildings with dwindling resources. The spotlight placed on First United might help. The Stranger recently ran a story saying that preservationists’ fuss over the downtown Seattle First United may have saved a historic church on Capitol Hill.
When First Church of Christ, Scientist’s shrinking congregration went looking for a buyer, it sought to avoid public outcry by picking a condo developer who promised to keep the exterior facade of the building intact. That condition cost the congregration $1 million in market value, but saved them countless fights with the community.