PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The first steps to demolish the historic Hale Memorial Church in Peoria’s West Bluff are underway.

Thursday morning, crews started taking down the church’s bell tower. This is according to the president/CEO of the KDB Group Greg Birkland.

He said demolishing the bell tower will help crews have a better understanding of the structure, before additional demolition efforts.

Demolition of the entire church is planned for later this month. Birkland said they’re also hoping to salvage some stone from the building.