1 year later: Eau Claire church looks forward to rebuilding afte - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

1 year later: Eau Claire church looks forward to rebuilding after fire in Sept. 2016

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Photo dated Sept. 22, 2017. Exactly one year from when a fire broke out at Plymouth Congregational Church in Eau Claire. Photo dated Sept. 22, 2017. Exactly one year from when a fire broke out at Plymouth Congregational Church in Eau Claire.
Photo dated Sept. 22, 2016 when a fire broke out at Plymouth Congregational Church in Eau Claire. Photo dated Sept. 22, 2016 when a fire broke out at Plymouth Congregational Church in Eau Claire.

Eau Claire (WQOW) - It's been one year since the Plymouth Congregational Church near Eau Claire's west side was destroyed in a fire.

Officials determined a lightning strike sparked the fire in September 2016. They said it caused $300,000 in damages and destroyed a number of historic items in the church. Still, the congregation has been resilient.

On Friday, Rev. David Huber told News 18 that they're holding up just fine and are ready to rebuild on the same location. He said the fire certainly wasn't ideal, but the silver lining is. He said it gave them an opportunity to enhance their space.

"Even the night of the fire, when the leadership first gathered, we gathered at Culver's...to talk about the future, everyone's talking -- 'let's rebuild,' and we're already saying, 'Well here's some things we didn't like about the old building. Let's make this better. Let's do this.' We're already thinking about how to go into the future," Huber said.

The congregation wants to thank the community for all of its support since 2016's fire. They're hosting a free picnic supper for their neighbors on Wednesday, Sept. 27 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the County Farm Park in the Sun Rae Mesa development in Eau Claire, located at 3309 County Farm Road. There will be free food, including hot dogs, bbq sandwiches, dessert and drinks. In case of inclement weather, food will be served in to-go boxes.

Huber said members of Plymouth Congregational Church want to help the Westridge Neighborhood Association with its fundraiser in purchasing new playground equipment for the County Farm Park in Eau Claire. He said currently, it is the only park in that neighborhood, and it only has a few swings.

Huber said free-will donations will be accepted at the picnic for the playground fundraiser. Monetary donations can also be sent to Plymouth UCC, 2010 Moholt Drive, Eau Claire; earmarked for "County Farm Park".

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