City of Lincoln lends support to the
restoration of Allen Chapel Church
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[January 08, 2022]
In the final quarter of the year, the Lincoln
City Council debated whether or not to assist the restoration and
rehabilitation of the historic Allen Chapel Church by forgiving
sewer bill debt that had amassed over the years.
The topic came to the council when former Lincoln
City alderman, and local historian Ron Keller came to the council to
share how he had become involved in trying to preserve the old
Keller explained that he was on the trail of grants that would
assist him in restoring the building. However, the debt to the city
was going to make it difficult, if not impossible to receive those
By way of history, Keller said that the Allen Chapel was an African
Methodist Church. The origination of the AME dates back to 1790ís
Philadelphia. The local church was built in 1880. In 2003, the
building was placed on the National Registry of historic places.
Keller was seeking forgiveness for just under $2,000 in sewer debt,
the vast majority of which was late fees.
OCTOBER 28 - Lincoln City Council:
Keller seeks debt forgiveness for Allen Chapel Church
At the November 4th meeting, aldermen tabled the topic to a future
date, but did discuss their feelings about the issue.
While all agreed that the church was worth saving as a part of
Lincolnís African American history, they were reluctant to forgive
the debt. The church building is now owned by the AME diocese in
Springfield. Some thought the diocese could pay the debt and others
felt that forgiving the debt could be setting a precedent for the
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Throughout the conversation, Mayor Tracy Welch and
others in the council said that the church was historic and that the
city should do what it can to help preserve it.
NOVEMBER 4 -
Lincoln Aldermen table Allen Chapel vote
At the November 18th voting session of the council, had an action
item on the agenda. The motion as presented on that agenda did not
come to a vote. Instead an amended motion to forgive only the late
fees on the debt was passed.
Welch told the council that night that he had people waiting to pay
the bill, if the city would forgive the late fees.
It was reported by City Clerk Peggy Bateman that of the $1,957.33
all but $292.20 was late fees. Aldermen elected to forgive the late
fees. After the meeting concluded, Welch was approached by several
aldermen and people in the gallery with cash in hand for the balance
of the debt. By the time everyone left that evening, the debt of
Allen Chapel had been completely covered.
NOVEMBER 18 -
Historic building sewerage bill sparks contentious debate