Augusta board blocks bid to demolish historic black church

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - An energy company's request for permission to demolish a historic black church in east Georgia has been denied.

The Augusta Chronicle reports that Atlanta Gas Light had sought to tear down the former Trinity CME Church in Augusta. The company is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Co.

The Augusta Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday voted unanimously to deny the company's application.

The Chronicle reports that the church was built by former slaves in the 1890s, and is considered the birthplace of the Christian Methodist Episcopal denomination.

church has stood vacant since the 1990s, when Atlanta Gas Light settled with the congregation and began removing tons of soil contaminated by a nearby gas plant that operated from 1852 to 1955.

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