Former church vandalized

Local News

RIDGE FARM, Ill. (WCIA) — A couple is picking up the pieces after they say tenants destroyed a historic property. 

What seemed like a nice thing to do has turned into a disaster. A church built in the 1800’s is a far cry from what it once was. 

In just eight months time, a couple says people renting from them vandalized this historic church.
 
The building has served a lot of different purposes in the village, hosting funerals and girl scouts meetings. 

Now, they want to bring it back to what it used to be. 

“There’s not a window in here that doesn’t have some kind of glass busted out of it,” said property owner Robert Burton.

Just about everywhere you look inside this former church building on Woodyard Avenue is in some need of repair. 

But that wasn’t the case four years ago when the couple bought it. 

“It was all good in the beginning and you see what’s left here,” said Burton. 

The couple wanted to help someone out who needed a place to stay, so they agreed to a rent to own. 

“They were supposed to fix a small leak that was in the ceiling and get the water and electricity on here, and they didn’t do any of that,” said owner Ella Richards.

“I kept getting notices about the trash outside, so I had to keep a closer eye on them because they were trashing the place.”

The couple evicted the tenants. They’re asking for help from the community to put it to good use again. 

“We just want to restore this property and put it back to the way that it was originally and hopefully make a thrift store,” said Richards.

“Maybe not be a church anymore, but it could be a viable part of the community and help people out,” said Burton. 

The couple is asking for anyone who could offer cheap roofing or flooring services. They want that space to be something the community can use.

The GoFundMe for this property can be found here.

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