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Parishioner & Resident Wants St. Aloysius Saved

I wanted to share with you a series of emails I have had with a resident near St. Aloysius. This person asked me keep their identity private.

Here is the first email I received from this resident two days ago:

Thank you for your efforts towards saving the buildings at St. Aloysius.
Our family is for the preservation of the entire block.

I was baptized at St. Al’s, attended and graduated from the school. My sister was married there. My parents were married in the “bowling alley” underneath the Gym, while the church was being built, It served as the church for a few years and if you look closely you can see remnants of the windows and where the alter was situated.

We are now residents of the Hill and belong to St. Ambrose Parish. We have not heard anyone say they would like a housing developement on the spot. It sounds political to us.

Thank you again!

I wrote back asking this person to “speak up” — that the alderman, priest and developer needed to hear from people on this issue. Here was the response:

I would hate to have repercussions.
This is definitely the way I feel…….tell me I am not the only one. I feel it would be painful to see buildings torn down!

I can hear this person’s pain. They feel like they might secretly be the only one that wants to save the building, afraid to speak out. I tried to reassure this person they were not the only one from the neighborhood that felt the same way. Here was the last thing I received:

I do not think that any of the three you mentioned in your first email [alderman, priest & developer] care about how the parisioners feel (We were never asked) I believe that they are own their own mission!

A little more bold than the last email. This time they consented to let me quote what they wrote anonymously. I’ve deleted only a few bits that might have identified who this person is. This is far from the only such email I’ve received on my efforts to save these buildings. I think many felt strongly about saving the buildings but didn’t want to speak up or didn’t know how to go about having an impact. Myself and others have got the ball rolling, we’ll see if they finish the job.

– Steve


Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Brian says:

    If the alderman now wishes to exempt this single block or ordain the means, then it truly is the moment of truth.

    Myself, I didn’t attend the Preservation hearing and won’t attend the HUDZ hearing, as I actually feel rather neutral on the cause. I feel St. Al’s is of historic merit and a half-block compromise would be profitable. On the other hand, the transformation of this block into twenty-some new homes would be good for the neighborhood.

    Knowing how complex and broken the City’s development review process is, I actually don’t blame any neighborhood leaders for trying to help a locally invested developer. I continue to respect my alderman and pastor, and their hearts are definitely in the right place.

    Unless many others within the neighborhood or former parish actually speak up, I also have to think our alderman and pastor are right when they say there is local support for razing St. Al’s. The Preservation Board gave my sentimental side a last glimmer of hope that maybe an alternate solution could be possible. But if another developer hasn’t come forward as a partner, then I have to think opposition will only prolong a lost cause.

    And so now I relunctantly but realistically return to what I started out saying– none of us want to see St. Al’s gone, but all of us want to move on. So go ahead and let a locally experienced developer build new homes for others seeking to live in our neighborhood.

    [REPLY – I understand the lets move on sentiment but lets not be hasty. Remember the land is privately owned by someone wishing to tear the buildings down. By your logic we should let him simply because nobody else is proposing a development for land they don’t own or have under contract.

    But what if this land owner couldn’t tear them down. Would he sell to another developer that had bid on the properties — one that wanted to retain some of the structures.

    Remember, the seller hand picked this buyer. The public had no control over that but we as tax paying citizens in this city have a right to look out for how our city gets developed. – SLP]

  2. but Brian says:

    Have you seen the home designs proposed by the developer? Assuming, arguendo, that new homes are good for a neighborhood, those certainly are not an improvement.

  3. Matt says:

    I personally will not give up on St. Al’s untill it is completely gone, and I mean completely gone.

    I almost qualify as a resident, being in an adjacent neighborhood, so that makes at least 2 of us on this paricular blog that have spoken against demo. I know there are many others out there. The typical speel that parishioners want the buildings gone so they can move on is uterly ridiculous, comparable to the supposed need for parking at the Century site to save that neighborhood. It’s all a load of BS, that some have bought hook, line, and sinker, while others never had a chance to even know they could oppose it. I can’t say I blame the developer for this, he’s just trying to make a buck. Ok, so he does get some blame. The main blame goes to the tag team of alderman and pastor. Both come from the school of thought that any development is good development (Kinda reminds me of another debate you are in right now, Steve). Bommarito also wants people to be solely attached to his parish. I could tell you a lot about him, but I don’t want to make this personal.

    Shit like this just really drives me crazy.

  4. another says:

    there is another developer who submitted a bid for preserving the buildings. the archdiocese knows who that person is.

    that developer would have paid more than $600,000 and would have spent a lot more on the rehab with new homes than wohlert is spending on the new homes alone.

  5. Paul says:

    Does anyone know who this other developer is? One of the arguments that I have heard bantered about in favor of demolition is that no one was interested in rehabbing the buildings. This makes it sound like that is not true. It would certainly be helpful to hear from that other developer that there is interest in saving the building and that there is financially viable potential to rehab the buildings.

  6. Brian says:

    Still the moment of truth– was there a higher bid with a viable plan to rehab or not? If not, it’s a lost cause. If there was, someone should speak up, and soon.

    Otherwise, stop giving those of us, who would like to save the church, but at the same time want closure and new homes, any false hopes. I found a glimmer of such hope in the Preservation Board. But now, I’m hesitant to find such glimmers in what may just be a rumor.

    If there were alternate, viable offers, then now is exactly the time to find out fully what happened. Maybe the question can be posed at the HUDZ hearing, where hopefully an honest answer from the alderman and pastor will go on public record.


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