The abandoned St. Boniface Church of West Kensington held its last service in 2006 and the building has been vacant ever since. During the last year of the church’s life, it’s been in the worst shape we’ve seen it and the deterioration has become overwhelming. Stained glass windows were replaced with Plexiglas and, according to an official letter written by the Archdiocese and Redemptorist, the church’s structure is falling apart mainly because it is made of brownstone (others seem to think it was due to poor upkeep as well as a $7M price tag that would come along with all necessary repairs).
The Norris Square Civic Association (NSCA) bought the church, whose buildings cover the entire block (Norris Square), and has reached out for the help of the Community Design Collaborative to figure out the best way to revitalize the footprint of the demolished church and its surrounding structures. A team of volunteers (architects, preservationists, an electrical engineer and a cost estimator) were hired to do feasibility tests surrounding the ideas that NSCA had for the old site. After the tests, however, Patricia DeCarlo (executive director of NSCA), said the volunteer professionals really opened their eyes to new possibilities for the locale.
After a lot of research, the NSCA has decided that they would like to redevelop the space into a community center for West Kensington (there is a gymnasium already present that will be revamped as well as a school that will continue to be used as an educational facility). Board approval has already been acquired and $15M dollars has been raised for the project through city, state and federal grants. The NSCA will be presenting the final version of the plan for St. Boniface to the community in October and according to Danny Rodriguez, the construction supervisor and cost estimator, they are very excited for the project to be something that serves the community of West Kensington for many years to come. We are also anxious to see the final plan for the old church as it has potential to be something very beneficial for the area. For more information, visit the Design Collaborative blog.
Found in the church during cleaning. Seems important.