Potential Landmark Status for Unitarian Universalist Church Building Disputed – Post Bulletin
ROCHESTER — A request to remove the First Unitarian Universalist Church from a list of potential city landmarks will go to a public hearing on Tuesday.
The City’s Heritage Preservation Commission will hear the reasons for the requested change in status for the building at 1727 Walden Lane SW at its regular meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers of the City Government Center.
The 1966 building was designed by nationally renowned architect Victor Christ-Janer, who contributed to the modernist movement.
His participation in the construction, as well as the unique use of masonry tiles on the exterior walls, are cited as potential reasons for listing the building as a landmark, which comes with additional monitoring by the city of potential changes to the exterior of a building.
However, Church President Ann Hutton said in a letter to the commission that a million-dollar renovation in 1999 had already changed the exterior of the building. She also pointed out that part of Christ-Janer’s planned design was altered during the original construction due to rock in the subsoil of the site.
She said the congregation would like some flexibility as they consider a potential move or additional renovations to meet the needs of the church.
“Our congregation has not yet chosen to remain on this property, but a rigorous process of discernment has been underway since 2018 in conjunction with the Unitarian Universalist Association and local architects,” she wrote, adding that a congregational vote is expected this year.
Molly Patterson-Lungren, the city’s heritage preservation and urban design coordinator, recommends that the church remain on the city’s list of potential landmarks to allow for further study of potential historic significance. of the building.
The commission will be asked to make a decision on the status after Tuesday’s public hearing, with the option of deciding that the building does not warrant landmark designation.
Meetings scheduled for the week of May 23 include:
- City Council Special Learning Session, 3:30 p.m. Monday in Mayo Civic Center Suite 102, 30 Civic Center Drive SE.
- Heritage Preservation Commission, Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the boardroom of the Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE.
- Outside the agency’s Oversight Committee, Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Room 104 at City Hall.
- Police Public Service Commission, Thursday at 3 p.m. in Room 164B of the Center for Development and Infrastructure Services.
- Olmsted-Wabasha Lake Zumbro Joint Powers Board, Monday at 2 p.m. in the Government Center Board Rooms.
- Rochester-Olmsted Council of Governments, Wednesday noon in Conference Room A at 2122 Campus Drive SE in Rochester.