CUMBERLAND – The future of the 102-year-old St. John United Church of Christ in Cumberland is still up in the air — at least through the weekend.

Thursday’s deadline to raise $75,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to keep the historic church from being razed as early as June has been extended to Monday. Church leaders granted the extension after the Cumberland Town Council voted to donate $25,000 toward the cause.

The vote brought the fundraising total to $70,000.

Members of the church, at the corner of German Church Road and Washington Street, have been at odds with town officials for years over the fate of the deteriorating building, which the congregation wants to demolish amid rising maintenance costs and which Cumberland leaders say is a significant historic structure.

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Church officials, a prospective and town officials plan to gather Saturday morning to discuss the future of the building, which church members left in October 2015 for a new site.

Richard Suiter, church board member, was glad to hear town officials agreed to put funds toward the effort to save the church.

“They have fought for years to keep the building, so I think it’s appropriate that they step forward and kind of put some money where their mouth is,” Suiter said.

Cumberland Town Council officials unanimously approved the donation; that money will come out of the town’s economic development fund.

“As of this morning, we’ve nearly met our fundraising goal,” said Town Manager April Fisher, said Thursday in a press release. “We’re working together to make something great happen for the community.”

Town officials have been working with Indiana Landmarks, which advocates for the preservation of historic structures and created the crowdfunding campaign they say will buy them more time to secure a buyer who can renovate the property.

Indianapolis-based TWG Development LLC has already agreed to buy the building, contingent on the awarding of affordable-housing tax credits, to build senior apartments. However, the project was not chosen to receive those credits this year, leaving the congregation in limbo about what to do with the property.

Church leaders have said demolishing the building will make the land more attractive to sell, but they have been willing to work with town officials to find a buyer that will preserve the building.

Officials hope to learn by September whether or not other projects promised the tax credits moved forward with their plans; if not, those credits could be passed on to wait-listed efforts, including the church renovation.

Church officials say there isn’t a particular plan for the use of the $75,000; that money will be set aside for the future.

“It’s just a good-faith deposit,” Suiter said. “It’s earnest money for the sale of the property.”

The congregation moved out of the building to a temporary site, the Muesing Activity Center at Prospect Street and Carroll Road, in October 2015. They need the funds from the sale of the old church to build a new one.

Donors may visit indianalandmarks.org/donate and write “Save German Church” in the comment field to support the cause.

If enough funds are not raised, the tax-deductible pledges will be returned to donors.

How to contribute

Cumberland town officials, in conjunction with Indiana Landmarks, are promoting a fundraising campaign to save the historic St. John United Church of Christ at the corner of German Church Road and Washington Street.

The campaign is $5,000 short of its $75,000 goal. The deadline to contribute is Monday.

Donors may visit indianalandmarks.org/donate and write “Save German Church” in the comment field to support the cause.

If enough funds are not raised, the tax-deductible pledges will be returned to donors.

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.