A major construction project has been scrapped to protect a Jim Thorpe church.
For months, town residents and business owners have been protesting construction of a new county office building and parking garage on Susquehanna Street.
Commissioners have a new plan in mind that involves renovating the old county archives building into an office space.
The new building would be steel instead of precast concrete. The county would also eliminate the proposed parking garage.
"It's still not too late to try to get it right," said Carbon County commissioner, Bill O'Gurek.
After months of controversy over their proposed office building construction that would potentially endanger the historic St. Mark's & St. John's Episcopal Church, commissioners are taking another route.
"There is opposition to us tearing down the current archives maintenance building so what we're looking at doing is renovating that building for office space there," said Wayne Nothstein, chairman of the Board of Commissioners.
The new plan involves removing the second floor and renovating the archives building into a smaller two or three story structure.
Doing so would shrink the size of the original project's footprint. It would also preserve the view of St. Mark's.
"That's huge because that is the sight line when you come into town, to see that church is one of the magical things about Jim Thorpe," said Mary Shorten, caretaker of St. Mark's.
"If anyone thought the three of us had a disregard for the integrity of that church I think that's wrong," added O'Gurek.
Approximately ten million dollars the county had ready to start the project will be invested for one year.
"Since the redesign, the permitting will take some time, the project won't get underway until next year in the spring, we're gonna have that money tied up," said O'Gurek.
Even though commissioners have new plans that don't involve digging into the mountain St. Mark's is built into, church supporters say they still want to be in the conversation moving forward.
"I'm very excited, I'm hopeful that we'll be invited to the table as far as the design of this building to make sure it fits in with the town," said Shorten.
"I'm hoping and have a feeling that we'll be at the table this next time around," added Diane Prokop, a member of the "Stop the Susquehanna Street Project" Committee.
Commissioners hope to put the new project out to bid by the end of this year.