BROOKLYN - A historic Bensonhurst church is struggling in its need for renovations.

The New Utrecht Reformed Church has been closed since renovations began in 2003. The church’s 200-year-old design has presented workers with unforeseen challenges and has raised the cost of the renovations.

“We wanted to just paint the ceiling, but we found out that when we touched it, the entire ceiling fell down, so we had to recreate the ceiling,” says Susan Hanyen, vice president of the church board.

Paying for the work has also proven difficult.  While the landmarked status allows exterior work to be paid for by government funds, the church can only use private donations to renovate its interior because of its religious affiliation. A garage fire two weeks ago only made its financial struggles worse.

Construction has stalled every time the church stops to raise money, delaying the project which has already taken 13 years.