Land Bank moving forward with negotiations to accept St. Anthony Church donation

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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - On Monday, the Lucas County Land Bank decided to move forward with negotiations to assume the donation of St. Anthony Church from the Diocese of Toledo at reasonable terms.

All indications are the church is structurally sound and, with some repair, could last another 15-years.

Friday, inspectors looked at everything outside and inside the church, the floors, the walls, the ceiling, the steeple and found all of it in *Good Condition*.

The report indicates minor repairs are needed to the roof, gutters, doors, windows and downspouts, estimate cost $150,000.

After spending about 45-minutes reviewing that inspection report, the nine member Land Bank board decided it should step in and try to acquire the church, at reasonable terms.

Toledo mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz says, "The Land Bank board is aware that it has taken a large bite of something and it has to hope that it can chew it."

What the mayor means is, will funding to save this one building mean less money toward demolishing blighted homes or acquiring other properties for investors to renovate in other neighborhoods?

Some resident believe the church building has a future as something else.

Major Smith, with the Junction Neighborhood group says, "There's a lot of history in Toledo. There's a lot of history in this area and I think it could be shared as a museum."

But first, the Land Bank has to work out an acceptable deal with the Toledo Diocese. Negotiations could start any day.

A lot of groups came together to save the church from demolition.

Now, the Land Bank is asking people sign a pledge committing their time money and creativity toward renovating the church.

But the pledge admits total renovation would take years and cost millions of dollars.

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