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Presbyterian Church subject of Monday's City Council meeting

The battle to spare a downtown church from the wrecking ball moves from pews to podiums Monday night. The City Council will decide whether to grant the 92-year-old Central Presbyterian Church protected status as a historic resource. With an overflow crowd expected to attend the meeting, city officials are setting up an extra room where observers can watch the proceedings on a live video feed.

With Monday’s vote, the council will wade into a controversy that’s pitted parishioners against each other on the letters to the editor page and at public hearings. Church leaders want to tear down and replace the Mission-style sanctuary building at 20th and Canal streets, but a passionate group of preservationists is fighting to save the structure, which they say is an irreplaceable landmark.

The group that wants to preserve the church is asking the city to designate the church as a local historic resource. But a council vote in their favor wouldn’t permanently save the church. Historic resource designation would make it more difficult — but not impossible — to demolish the building, said city planning technician Kim Nutt.