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Old Rock Church Owner Tries For Nonprofit Status

Old Rock Church Owner Tries For Nonprofit Status

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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- The owner of the Old Rock Church -- one of Cache Valley's oldest buildings and a recognized site on the National Register of Historic Places -- is trying to convert the now-reception center and bed and breakfast into a nonprofit entity.

Karl Seethaler, who bought the landmark in the town of Providence in 1993, said the building is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain -- and the best way to save it might be organizing an endowment foundation and reorganizing it as a nonprofit.

"It's pretty hard to ask someone to support my business; it doesn't have much appeal," he said. "But if it's a foundation, where its nonprofit, then that opens up a lot of possibilities both for individual private donations and government sources of funding."

Built in 1869, the former LDS meeting house is one of the oldest buildings in the area -- outdating the Logan LDS Temple by 13 years. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982.

Seethaler said no immediate repairs are needed, but major future projects include upgrading the building to meet seismic code, estimated to cost more than $300,000.

Since he took ownership, Seethaler has turned the chapel into a reception center, remodeled the remainder of the building into a bed-and-breakfast called the Providence Inn, upgraded the kitchen; repaired leaky ceilings and installed wireless high-speed Internet, among other things.

"It requires a lot of maintenance. It requires a lot of work to bring it up to grade, which we have done some, but there's still a ways to go," Seethaler said. "It's just really too big for me, and I'm just really concerned as to what will eventually happen to it."

Since he decided its future would be most secure as a nonprofit, Seethaler offered to donate the historic landmark's equity and debt to Utah State University, the Utah Festival Opera Company, the American West Heritage Foundation, the town of Providence and the LDS Church. None, however, accepted it.

He hopes an endowment foundation can help "refine its direction," and is meeting privately with prospective members of an eventual steering committee to appoint a board of directors that will create and manage the foundation.

The reception center and Providence Inn would remain in business as nonprofits, with all proceeds benefiting the foundation.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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