St. Paul Church made a true community acquisition when they purchased the former Kensington Grammar School property, but before the benefits can truly be unveiled to the public, there's still a lot of work to be done.
The “Faith in the Future” capital campaign will help the church begin a number of site improvements, but they need your help, according to Father Robert Schlageter, pastor at St. Paul's.
“We need the help of the community at large if this drive is to be successful,” he said. “There are no funds to move forward. The entire cost of the project must come from the 'Faith in the Future' Campaign.”
The church purchased the property for just under $600,000, which exhausted the parish reserve funds and necessitated taking on $200,000 in debt.
The total cost for the project and goal is $1.3 million. There is also a challenge goal of $1.8 million to make additional site improvements and pay off the loan which the church needed to purchase the property, according to a press release from Thomas and Marlene Drzata, campaign chairs.
The vision for the property includes a memorial prayer garden and a large parish green, the press release said. The green, with contiguous parking, could be used for church and community functions.
“I know there have been concerns with previous proposals on this property, but as I explained to the parish leadership, I am just happy that someone will take an active role to clean up the property and put it to good use,” said Mayor Adam Salina. "The church’s acquisition and future plans will not only benefit the parish, but it will also have the least amount of impact to the property’s neighbors.”
The church’s decision to abate and raze the building came only after a long period of study. The former school building has been abandoned for more than 25 years.
“As with any structure built in this time period, it contains asbestos and lead paint, all of which must be abated before anything can be done,” Schlageter said. “This is a very expensive process and represents the bulk of the church’s financial need.”
The capital campaign offers numerous memorial opportunities, including memorialized stone and brick pavers which will be part of the Prayer Garden and Parish Green Pavilion. Renderings and documentation can be seen at the Church’s website campaign.stpaulkensington.org.
Members of the community may make a one-time gift or ongoing pledge by clicking on the 'Click here to donate or make a pledge link.' Pledge cards and/or donations may be dropped off or sent to St. Paul Parish Center 467 Alling St., Kensington, CT, 06037.
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