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Wind-damaged church steeple raises safety concerns in downtown Detroit

Posted: 6:27 PM, Jan 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-24 23:27:33Z

Right now barricades are up around a Detroit church, to make sure no one gets hurt should parts of the steeple fall. 

The concerns grew on Tuesday as wind gusts of about 30 miles per hour hit the Fort Street Presbyterian Church Steeple.  People could see the cross at the top moving.  They called police, who put up the barricades.  Nothing fell at the time from the top of the church. 

This problem started back in March when we had a wind storm.  Wind pounded the steeple on the historic church at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. 
Shingles flew off. Decking was damaged. Stone finials attached with mortar flew off the building and landed three blocks away. The steeple suddenly started leaning. 

The church filed an insurance claim. 

“That claim came through.  Unfortunately it was only a third of what the damage was,”  said Derek Sale, a member of the Fort Street Presbyterian Church.

That is why the steeple still hasn’t been fixed. The church found a local business willing to do a temporary fix, but the work has to be done when it isn’t windy.  That has delayed work. If weather allows - work will start Monday. 

It is a historic job.  When this church was built in 1855 it was the tallest building in Michigan.  Church members are asking you to help them continue serving the community, feeding those in need and preserving history by donating to their steeple fund. To make long term repairs will cost about $500 thousand. 

“We are actively looking for donations so we can fix the steeple and continue for another 150 years,” said Sale. 

You can make a donation at the church’s website, http://fortstreet.org .