Landmark Status? Hardly a Blessing for One Church

Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mott Haven (Photo via Mott Haven Herald)

Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mott Haven (Photo via Mott Haven Herald)

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has placed a 128-year-old Romanesque Revival style church on its list to fast-track a decision over whether it should be designated a historic landmark, but that isn’t good news to the pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception at 150th Street in Mott Haven, writes Becky Holladay in Mott Haven Herald.

Father Skelly and the Archdiocese of New York are completely against the designation, feeling that the financial burden of maintaining the church to historic standards will be too much for a congregation whose median income is $25,000. And Skelly and other parish leaders are organizing to fight the designation. They may start a petition, or go to their local council members for support.

“No one needs to tell us that our church is beautiful, we know that. No one needs to tell us that our church is the center of the community, we know that,” Skelly says. “So if I get a piece of paper, it’s nice — but then there are strings attached.”

Rev. Skelly worries over the costs that might accompany landmark status. Already, major work on the building has required solutions that may not quite be in keeping with preservationists’ standards:

 When the church needed a new roof in 2012, it took the parishioners two years to save the money. “We skimped and we saved everything we had,” Skelly says. A slate roof like the original one from 1887 would have cost at least $1 million, according to Skelly, so they opted for an asphalt roof that was only $600,000.

Go to Mott Haven Herald to find out how other churches that have been given landmark status have fared.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*