Bronx church says landmarks status a curse, not a blessing

“This was the worst possible news I could have heard,” said the church's pastor

TRD New York /
Apr.April 04, 2016 01:42 PM

Landmarks status? God no. A cash-strapped Bronx church says the designation would create a financial hardship if it were to perform repairs or renovations.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission scheduled a vote next week for the possible designation of the exterior of the Immaculate Conception Church at 389 East 150th Street in Melrose.

If the commission does designate the church — the current structure opened in 1888 — work on the exterior would need LPC approval.

“This was the worst possible news I could have heard,” Rev. Francis Skelly, the church’s pastor, told the New York Times. “The landmarks commission doesn’t care about people, they care about buildings. We are an immigrant parish. Financially, we break even. But we’re always a boiler explosion away from being in financial trouble.”

Immaculate Conception, which serves a congregation of 1,200, has yet to find the funds for the church’s cooper steeple, which has been in disrepair for 20 years, the newspaper reported.

A LPC spokesperson told the Times there were state funds and private grants available to help with repair and renovation costs. [NYT]Dusica Sue Malesevic

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