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HomeNewsKenilworth Union Church intends to raze historic home for expansion project

Kenilworth Union Church intends to raze historic home for expansion project

Kenilworth Union Church is taking a literal path to increase its community.

After years of internal discussions, the church has a plan in motion to demolish a neighboring home and construct a two-story addition to its facilities at 211 Kenilworth Ave. KUC officials shared their proposal with their community in the course of the church’s annual meeting on Sept. 24.

“Just as our homes have to be maintained so must our spiritual home — Kenilworth Union Church,” the presentation says. “… Like generations before us, we must invest to revive and adapt our church facilities.

“Our calling: Sustain a vibrant Kenilworth Union, sharing Christian values and playing a significant role in our community for years to return.”

In accordance with the plans, the brand new two-story constructing could be 11,740 square feet and include two multi-purpose spaces and restrooms on the primary floor and a music room, children’s chapel and fellowship room on the second floor. In connecting the constructing with the church, KUC also wants so as to add a corridor between the spaces and one other youth space within the basement, while also renovating areas within the fundamental church constructing.

An idea for a youth and multipurpose space for the proposed church addition.

The addition would have an independent entrance off Warwick that may feature a circle drive for drop-off and pick-up, which church officials say will increase safety and access.

The project must gain approval from the Village of Kenilworth. So far, the village has approved the consolidation of the 2 plats: 211 Kenilworth Ave. and 417 Warwick. The proposal is slated to look before Kenilworth’s Architectural Review Board and Zoning Board this fall. The recommendations from those groups could be passed to the Kenilworth Village Board.

Moreover, the Village’s Constructing Review Commission determined in November 2022 that 417 Warwick held historical and architectural importance.

A photograph of 417 Warwick across the time it was inbuilt the late 1800s.

Kenilworth Union Church, also a historical site, purchased the house from the Porta family in 1984, and since, the constructing served as a house for the church’s clergy through 2013 and is now used as an area for the church’s youth group activities, in line with Village documents.

The church’s historian found that the house — as one among few examples of classical revival style designs in Kenilworth — met one criteria for historical significance; nonetheless, a village consultant suggested the house also met other criteria.

Residents on the commission meeting questioned the church’s need for extra space. Church representatives said the structure at 417 Warwick has a compromised foundation and the church has attempted to put it aside.

Commissioners voted unanimously to present the house a historical designation, delaying demolition for at the least one 12 months. Because the one 12 months mark approaches, Kenilworth Village Manager Patrick Brennan said the church had indicated its intentions to raze the constructing.

It’s unclear how much it can cost to construct the addition, however the church has a special web page dedicated to fundraising for the project.

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