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Murfreesboro deal will bring development and save decades-old bell tower

Posted: 5:56 PM, Oct 28, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-28 21:37:08-04
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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's a constant battle in this region on the rise: preserving old structures, or building something new. But the city of Murfreesboro and the backers of a new development downtown say they've found a way to get both.

The proposal would transform the block that used to hold the First United Methodist Church -- a block that still holds a decades-old bell tower and sanctuary that's more than 100 years old.

Developers are calling the plan One East College - a plan to put in new office, living and event space on the entire block, but keeping in place the sanctuary and bell tower.

It's an approach that neighborhood businesses say they've gotten behind.

"I grew up here and everyone knows and has walked by that bell tower," said Shannon Beckman at Beckman's Prescription Shop. "My parents' friends were married in that church, its a beautiful representation of the beauty of downtown and the central part of Murfreesboro."

The demolition is scheduled to start next year, and the city made the preservation of the historic building part of the deal -- to keep the old while also bringing in something new.