Building a blessing to city
I can’t bear to see St. Stephen’s turned into just another cast-off religious edifice. Realtors hyping its great commercial location and architects crafting facelifts for adaptive re-use sicken me. It’s like ivory hunters standing in front of their kill.
The St. Stephen’s building is a wonderful, inspiring and historical part of this community. It is modest, accessible, inviting and an anchor of our main street. No matter your faith, or lack thereof, your beginnings or origin, or how you choose to live, this little stone building is in our face and a part of our everyday lives. It is not Catholic guilt that pushes me to remind us of how we are going to feel when it’s converted to Lord knows what, but rather how high it can serve the community.
Let’s think big. Let’s think community. Let’s let our hearts balance our pocketbooks. I have an idea for starters.
Maybe half of this community professes no faith or belongs to no religion. It’s the way things are. But, we all are born and we all die, and most of us get married, at least once. How about a nondenominational, nonsectarian community chapel for weddings, funerals, anniversaries and gatherings? Not a Las Vegas drive-thru. Not a Forest Lawn extravaganzas. Just a dignified place devoted to special occasions.
For starters, the archdiocese could half the asking price. It could then help form a nonprofit organization to administer the chapel. Then each church in this end of the valley could agree to help financially and administratively. The city could help with economic development bonds and taxes. A downtown revitalization project, if you may. The chamber and DDA could get involved.
Please, people, don’t let this golden opportunity to change a potential disaster into a wonderful community asset pass by.
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