Loose steeple on church causes street closures, reroutes - New York News

Loose steeple atop 120-year-old Avondale church to be removed

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A loose steeple on an Avondale neighborhood church has been deemed a hazard and will be removed Tuesday.

The 3-1/2 story steeple of Concordia Evangelical Lutheran Church at Belmont and Washtenaw avenues has become loose, possibly from high winds, police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said.

A structural assessment was performed Monday and the church was deemed to be a hazard to the public, city Dept. of Buildings spokeswoman Mimi Simon said. A Circuit Court judge issued an "emergency receiver" that will allow a crane to remove the steeple.

Due to high winds Monday, the steeple will not be removed until 8 a.m. Tuesday, Simon said. The removal is expected to be completed by Tuesday afternoon.

"In Avondale, that steeple is really a landmark," said Ward Miller, interim executive director of Preservation Chicago. He said his group has been talking to the church about getting official landmark status.

Norm Brown and Scott Miglore were doing remodeling work on a townhome on the north side of Belmont, across the street from the church. Brown said he wasn't worried about the steeple collapsing, even though the townhome's owner told them how much it was swaying Sunday.

"The wind goes east and west, I figured it wouldn't come this way," Brown said.

But Miglore didn't share his co-worker's view.

"If that fell down, it would fall right into the townhouse where we're working," said Miglore, who said he was leaving soon.

Belmont Avenue remains closed eastbound to California and westbound to Rockwell, Greer said. CTA buses have also been rerouted in the area.

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