Experts said a transformation happening in Wheeling is part of a larger, national trend and people from major cities are now getting in on the action.
The trend involves taking a place like the Blue Church on Byron Street, in East Wheeling, and finding a new way to keep people gathering there. Thursday, community activists working to revive Wheeling met with architects with the Wheeling based, Mills Group, and members of a national non-profit based in Philadelphia to decide the best way to re-purpose the former church. A re-purposing that would take the 178-year-old structure and change it into something that will have the greatest impact on everyone in the Ohio Valley.
“We’re really excited to be here, we really are, because we’re find that historic churches are transitioning a lot, all around the country and this is a real model on how to really think together about what it could be,” said Bob Jaeger with Partners for Sacred Places, based out of Philadelphia.
“A lot of congregations are shrinking in size and some of them are giving up their buildings and what’s terrific here is that the Wheeling community has come together to save it and to repair it,” Jaeger added.
Asset mapping is what the group worked on Thursday, where all of the people who wish to transform the building; list all of the features the property has to offer and how to make the most of those features. Once all of that was complete, the architect took the ideas and compiled renderings of how to make the changes, then at 6 o’clock all of that information would made available at the Blue Church.