Parishioners plead with landmarks commission to save Shrine of Christ the King

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CHICAGO -- The future of the Shrine of Christ the King church in Woodlawn is up in the air.

Parishioners spoke before the Commission on Chicago Landmarks Thursday, emphasizing the church's importance to their community. The landmark building is 91 years old and was designed by famous Chicago architect Henry Schlacks.

Repairing the damage from last October's fire will cost millions.

Building inspectors say the structure isn't safe and needs to be repaired or torn down.

One preservationist says he has a contact who's interested in helping save the church.

The landmarks commission didn't make a ruling Thursday, but will send a transcript to the Archdiocese.

No official representative from the Archdiocese was at the hearing, but it's spokesperson issued this statement that read in part:

"The Archdiocese....has offered the institute the opportunity to propose a plan for rebuilding a new church on the same site. As another option, the archdiocese has offered other existing churches available for immediate occupancy."