CALISTOGA — A year after being red-tagged by the city for multiple code violations, the Community Presbyterian Church, more commonly known as the Green Church, is set to open its doors, or at least some of them.
“After generous work by architect Hal Taylor and contractor Paul Coates, the city has agreed our building is safe enough for occupancy in the sanctuary, library, office and kitchen,” said the Rev. David Moon-Wainwright.
“We are cleaning up the building this week, moving back into the office and will have a communion service on March 11 at 10:30 to celebrate our return. We also plan to have ice cream afterwards. We will be ringing the bell before service and if you want to pull on the rope, please arrive by 10:20.”
Other improvements include a lift to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act installed on the parking lot side of the building, exit lights and an upgraded electrical system. Other parts of the building are still off limits, including Moon-Wainwright’s old office, the bathroom next to that office, the social hall, and the top floor and basement.
A community meeting is scheduled for Easter Sunday, April 1, to “make plans for how we will move forward with the rest of our work,” Moon-Wainwright said.
The Green Church, located at the intersection of Third and Washington streets, was shut down by city officials last spring due to code violations and safety hazards such as mold from a flood-prone basement. Services were held at the Calistoga Seventh-Day Adventist Church in the meantime.
“A special word of thanks to the Calistoga Seventh-Day Adventist Church. They graciously opened their sanctuary and facility to us for the last year and we are deeply grateful,” he said.
Some of the completed work included removal of kitchen stove and hood, smoke detectors, emergency signage, replacing the back kitchen stairs, and an ADA lift at the front entry.
Code violations, safety hazards such as overloaded electrical circuits and ungrounded knob-and-tube wiring, and mold forced the closure of the 146-year-old church.
Stormwater has flooded the basement repeatedly over the years, contributing to the growth of mold. Brad Cannon, building inspector for the city of Calistoga, said the problems came to his attention after the church obtained a demolition permit to repair water damage from a bathroom that experienced a major leak around Thanksgiving in 2016. Moon-Wainwright said more than 1,000 gallons flowed through the building.
In addition to mold, structural, fire, and emergency egress issues, the church is also had some tiles that contained asbestos, which have been removed.