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KENAI (AP) — A century-old Russian Orthodox chapel in Kenai will undergo renovations next year after receiving nearly $28,000 in grant funding.
The historic St. Nicholas Memorial Chapel received a nearly $15,000 grant last month from the Alaska Historical Commission, and it received a $13,000 grant last year from the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America, the Peninsula Clarion reported last week.
"We are so excited," said Dorothy Gray, secretary of the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church in Kenai. "Now we can begin work on the chapel, which is greatly in need of repair."
The small chapel in Kenai's Old Town was built in 1906 at the site of the Russian Fort and fur trading post. The chapel with its blue dome and gold cross has become a symbol of the city, appearing on street signs, the city seal and the chamber of commerce logo.
It has also become a popular tourist stop.
"We get hundreds of people every day in the summer that visit here," Gray said.
The first phase of the renovation will include repairing the roof, dome and cross, Gray said. The final phase will address the weathered hand-hewn logs on the walls.
The grant money will help purchase historically accurate materials, like cedar shingles, but the renovation process will allow for a few modern updates, Gray said. An ice water barrier shield will be added underneath the shingles to help protect the structure.
"In order to truly be historic preservation, you have to try to use materials that were consistent with that time period," Gray said. "You can't put an aluminum roof or a metal roof on the chapel, even though that'd be more water repellent."
The repair work is expected to begin in the spring.