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Freeport group has five days to save Oakdale Tabernacle

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FREEPORT (WREX) — A Freeport group has just five days to do what it's name says, "Save the Tabernacle." The group says it has one more idea to save the Oakdale Tabernacle.

The Freeport Park District is set to select a demolition bid for the Oakdale Tabernacle on Feb. 4.

"We are going to make an offer to totally take the expense away from the park district and we will, as an organization, save the tabernacle," says Ed Klein, Organizer of the Save the Tabernacle group, "raise enough money to do the repairs that are necessary to reopen the building."

The group says the amount of money needed to reopen the building is not the more than $1,000,000 quote given to the public by the park district.

"We have a study that said it would be $147,000 to put a roof on it," says Klein, "to fix some of the wood that's rotted and then to fix some footings and that makes the building really secure for a long, long time."

"I really don't think it is necessary to spend $1.3- or even $2 million on this building," says Jody Coss, Save the Tabernacle organizer.

Ken Collin, Commissioner on the Freeport Park District Board of Commissioners says the smaller quote amount will not be enough to do the job.

"They would need $310,000 minimum if we let them do it on our property," says Collin. "And then they're still gonna have to come up with hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix it all the way up."

Collin says the $147,000 bid doesn't account for animal feces clean-up, a steel roof instead of shingles, or leveling the floor to fit ADA standards.

The Save the Tabernacle group says all repairs on the building do not have to be done at once and the first priority should be to save a unique building that captures Freeport's history.

"This building, when you're inside it, it is just an amazing space," says Klein. "When you see the light come through the windows at the top and it bounces off the walls and the beams, it is just really, really special."

The final fate of the Oakdale Tabernacle will be sealed on February 4 when the Freeport Park District Board of Commissioners will either choose a demolition bid, or choose to not select a bid.

The Save the Tabernacle group says it has already raised over $12,000.

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Alexxis Kerry

Alexxis Kerry is a multimedia journalist at 13 WREX. She joined the team in 2019 as a Quintern.

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