Repairs are ongoing at the Saugatuck Congregation Church in Westport after a serious fire destroyed much of the building in 2011.
Workers in coveralls and a large dumpster full of debris are the first signs of progress at Saugatuck Congregational Church in Westport.
"Right now, they’re doing the environmental cleanup, getting everything out so it’s a safe, clear environment," said Rev. Alison Buttrick Patton, the pastor at Saugatuck Congregational Church.
The inside of the church and the buildings attached were severely damaged in a Nov. 2011 fire. The church was immediately closed, and repairs have been slow to start.
"A church building is more that a just worship space for a congregation," said congregation member Craig Patton. "It’s also a place were meetings take place, 12-step organizations, boy scout troops, all types of people come in. There was a nursery school that was displaced."
The church is now working to restore and enhance the building so those programs will once again be able to use its space.
"We’re adding on the third floor a brand new youth room that didn’t exist before. We’re making a more open and gracious welcome center because our back entrance is now really our front entrance because of our parking lot, and we’re opening up the fellowship hall," said Rev. Buttrick Patton.
To celebrate the renovations, congregation is coming together on Sunday for an official groundbreaking ceremony.
"I’m calling it a ground blessing because we’re blessing the space and the construction and the workers and looking ahead to see this completely back up and open," said Rev. Buttrick Patton.
The goal is to have the church reopen by late fall 2014.