Friends to ask for bigger role in chapel's future

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Marcia Nelesen
Friday, February 7, 2014

JANESVILLE--The Friends of Oak Hill Chapel will ask the Janesville City Council on Monday for more than $73,000 the council set aside for the building so the group can assume control of renovations.

The city assumed ownership of Oak Hill Cemetery and the chapel there in 2008.

Last summer, the council considered whether to demolish the structure at a cost of about $32,000, as staff had recommended, to conduct minimal repairs at a cost of about $90,000 or to complete a full renovation at estimated costs of about $378,000.

Staff recommended demolition because the structure is not used enough to justify additional costs. But a group of residents formed to save the chapel and has already raised $34,000 toward a proposed $40,000 goal.

Group members have said they can renovate the chapel at less cost than the city can by using skilled volunteers and donated material.

The city would give the group the $73,333 grant via its account with the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin.

The proposed resolution specifies the total estimated project should not exceed $100,000. That is necessary so the group can gain exemption from prevailing wage requirements.

Group goals include placing the chapel on the National Register of Historic Places and creating a maintenance fund.

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