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Abandoned Church Reincarnated as Venue, Skate Park

By Michelle Bliss

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/whqr/local-whqr-966032.mp3

04-28-11 – A 123-year-old abandoned church in downtown Wilmington has been reincarnated as an event venue and indoor skate park.

The Brooklyn Arts Center at St. Andrews was originally built in 1888 as a Presbyterian church, before it was passed along to another congregation and eventually abandoned. Executive Director Rich Leder says that the building became a dangerous eyesore to the downtown community after two massive hurricanes plowed through.

"In the late 1990's, at the end of the decade, Fran and Berth blew in the front wall, ripped the ceiling down, crashed into the building, destroying the balcony, windows blown out, doors blown off their hinges like a bomb went off inside the building."

After the storms, the City of Wilmington installed a steel superstructure inside the building to support the exterior walls and roof. Leder says that the site's owner served on various boards for more than a decade to restore the building, but was unable to do so until now.

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