Work on damaged steeple begins on the eve of Hurricane Irma's 2nd Anniversary
SARASOTA - On the eve of Hurricane Irma's second anniversary, a Suncoast church begins work to replace a victim of her wrath. It is a project in the works for Downtown Sarasota's First Baptist Church for two years, after Hurricane Irma knocked its cross off its steeple into Main Street.
Church Administrator, Don Boyd said, "Basically it rusted at the base of where the cross is attached and it came into the street...made a big dent in the street." Days later, the church called experts across the country, assessing what's next for the 57–year–old steeple. He said,"What would it take? Does it need to be repaired? Does it need to be replaced? At that point we just thought it needed to be repaired."
The church decided to replace the 46-foot steel steeple. He said, "The new one will be extruded aluminum, which strengthens it and makes it stronger and it'll be a lot lighter weight."
The steeple will house a brand new cross. All while staying true to the church's original blueprint. This week, on Irma's second anniversary, phase one begins.
Crews closed down a portion of Main Street between Adelia Ave and Pine Place as crews remove the old steeple. The new steeple will be ushered in in two weeks. Boyd said it isn't a woeful goodbye for First Baptist's community, "It's a building. What we do inside the church to prepare ourselves to come outside the church to reach out to people for the Lord, Jesus Christ is our mission."
Main Street will reopen Tuesday at 5 p.m. The new steeple is slated to debut October 1st.