7/03/2005

WTF do I know...

Last month we learned that Bishop Kmiec was preparing to "rightsize" the diocese with regards to its realestate. Immaculate Conception located at Edward & Elmwood was the first closing in a planned and systematic response to Buffalo's shrinking population.

A week later we learned that people are not going to church as much as they used to. See this capsule history. Parishes buildings and schools throught out Buffalo are going to be closed. Here's the article, archived from the Buffalo News.

I've written about what has happened in the past when the church leaves buildings behind. And if past performance is any guide to what's going to happen down the line, be prepared for additional bad management of local architectural treasures.

This week I re-visited the church at 768 Broadway that will be demolished later next week. I had also heard about the plans to build a new catholic church on the corner of Eagle and Hickory that were announced.
DSCN1641 DSCN1611
I know it's totally "politically in-correct" and some might consider it bordering on the profain...but I've often wondered how an organization with such a terrible record of managing old buildings might even be considered for a building permit for new construction. I mean we haven't even begun to hear from Bishop Kmiec the extent to which the Catholic Church will be abandoning property here in the city. And he just told us that the reason why Immaculate Conception must close is that the diocese can not afford to make $800,000 worth of repairs.

Meanwhile I always wanted to take a snap of this house at 79 Oakland Place here in the city. It's where Bishop Kmiec lives. The city assesses the property at a cool $916,000... with a spacious 11,000 sf interior. I just checked and none of the other properties on Oakland come even close to matching this place in size or assesment.
DSCN1630
Here's the spin on Diocesen dis-investment plan for the city of Buffalo. Check it out. You might know one of the 25 committee members scheduling the closing and dis-investment.
"We'll have to be transparent, to make people feel as if we're not concocting something behind their back," the bishop said.
So, what do I know? Why not start by insisting that Bishop Kmiec devise a viable plan for the sale of its property. Instead of letting it sit and enter the initial phases of "demoltion by neglect" or flipping it to some un-suspecting inter-city congregation let's hold the church accountable this time as it prepares to continue dis-investing from the city of Buffalo.

Maybe I'm alone in my criticism here but couldn't a strong case be made that instead of building another brand new church in the city's east side, Bishop Kmiec should be convinced of the merits of rennovating one of the abandoned churches...three candidates come to mind.
413  Sherman 198 Emslie Transfiguration Church - Interior
click to enlarge
But then again, what do I know?
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4 comments:

david s said...

The Churuch and its members believe in a religion which is suposedly based on helping others and yet when a neighborhood changes for the worse its members pack up a leave. Leaving behind an abandoned building and the poor uneducated people that could most use the services of the Church.

If the people of the Catholic Church truly read the bible and truly belived what they read they would be closing schools and churches in the rich suburbs and opening them in the inner city.

Wouldn't it be nice if they started practicing what they preached. They might even gain some new members.

fix buffalo said...

Ouch...I taught at Turner-Carroll HS before Bishop Manzell closed the place...I know, first hand, about these things...

Anonymous said...

David:
Thanks for taking up my longtime concern about Catholic abuse of power & use of govt funds to dispose of surplus property. . . now proposing to build more "new" while abandoning "old".
Go look at the new De Porres Catholic Church on the site of the old German Orphanage at Dodge & Northampton near Humboldt, surrounded by 'Catholic blight', which they sequentially dumped to corrupt Mark Trammell, son of corrupt City Court Judge Wilbur Trammell, who dumped it to the city of Hazelton in Pennsylvania as bum security for a HUD loan, later to slumlord Wizig-of-Houston, now to CAO who continue to neglct the 10 or so deteriorating buildings. The Diocese all while keeping the "shovel ready" center of the parcel for their own cheap use.
The grand Bishop's residence at 79 Oakland was historically assessed at $1.1 million (totally tax-exempt, of course). I urged Bishop Head, et al, 10-15 yr ago while writing at Alt Press to sell it, giving proceeds to Buffalo's plentiful poor, while moving to an inner-city rectory himself, following the example of Jesus . . . & the then-bishop of Milwaukee, who moved from rectory to rectory instead of having a permanaent mansion as home.
Especially ironic is the refusal to allow parking for parents going to Childrens' Hospital on Oakland, which would disrupt the silent luxury of those living there!
Who was it that said, "Suffer the little children . . ."???
Keep plugging!

Dick Kern (in Mpls.)
KernwatchMN@aol.com

fix buffalo said...

Dick is referring to this church:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fixbuffalo/23783944/

The former orphan home, documented elsewhere in my blog is clearly visible in the background of the above pic.