Construction is underway on a visual staple of Effingham — St. Anthony of Padua church steeple.
One very noticeable change when the renovation is complete will be the new color of the steeple.
According to St. Anthony Parish Director of Resources Carrie Koenig, the steeple’s green color is in fact copper that has turned green over the last 60 years.
“A patina effect due to weather, which turned the steeple green, happened over time since it was put in during the 1950s,” said Koenig. “The steeple is going to be a copper color again.”
While many are excited about the new look, the reason for the new copper is more practical than just an aesthetic overhaul, according to Koenig.
“Water damage is coming from the steeple down on the vestibule,” said Koenig.
In addition to the steeple, the 155-year-old church also will get a much-needed new slate tile roof that will replace the current shingle roof.
Crews are going to start replacing the roof, as well as start masonry work early next week, added Koenig.
Additional renovation will continue to fix water damage inside the church, including plaster and painting, once the steeple, brick and roof have been newly sealed, according to Koenig.
The parish has raised nearly 90 percent of the funds needed for the $2.5 million project since launching a fundraising campaign in March that also will include fixing the church’s acoustics, expansion of a cry room and fulfilling unpaid bills for employee benefits. According to Koenig, many parishioners and community members have been very supportive of planning and execution of the project.
Now that the project is underway, Koenig has noticed a substantial increase in foot and vehicle traffic past the church.
“People are stopping in the streets and on sidewalks to watch the work getting done,” said Koenig. “We are all very excited.”
Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.