By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
MONROE — Joe Boranian goes to the Monroe Covenant Church three times a week.
He uses a powered wheelchair because of his cerebral palsy. To get in the church, he needed friends to carry him up the stairs.
That has changed.
“Now that we have an elevator, that’s not an issue,” said Boranian, 22, who lives in Lake Stevens.
The church, located at 202 S. Sams St., finished the remodeling project last month which added an elevator, expanded the front entryway, and built new bathrooms for the handicapped.
It was done to help members of the congregation who use wheelchairs or have trouble getting up the stairs. At the time of the renovation, Boranian was one of only two members who use wheelchairs.
The $120,000 for the cost of construction was raised by the parishioners.
The church started thinking about the changes two decades ago. It had about $20,000 in savings, and in early 2011, the church started a fund drive to get the necessary funds, pastor Mac Taylor said.
In only three months, parishioners raised $90,000, he said.
“It was a large number for a small congregation,” Taylor said.
Usually, fewer than 40 people attend Sunday services.
That number has increased since the elevator was installed in late February, Taylor said.
During that ceremony, about 80 people attended to see Boranian take the first lift to the second floor.
Among the people in attendance were clients of a community resource center called Take the Next Step that uses the church as a venue for some of its programs.
These programs include dinners, Alcoholic Anonymous meetings and a computer lab.
Now three people who attend the church currently use a wheelchair and will benefit from having the elevator, Taylor said.
The lift can also help seniors who have trouble using the stairs, he said.
The church was built in 1906.
The elevator has been the church’s biggest construction project since the 1970s. At that time, the church had to build a new ceiling.
Boranian, meanwhile, appreciates the congregation for coming together for the project.
“It’s pretty amazing to see to what extent they went for one person,” Boranian said.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; firstname.lastname@example.org.