by Rick Winterson
In our last issue (JAN 18, page one), South Boston Online reported in some detail on the decision to demolish the building – now unoccupied for nine years – that once housed the Gate of Heaven School. Arriving at this decision, basically to ensure continued preservation of the iconic Gate of Heaven Church, was not easy. However, the reasoning behind this decision appears to have resulted in the best possible outcome.
In order to communicate completely the decision to demolish the school, along with providing answers to any remaining questions from the members of Gate of Heaven Church, Fr. Robert Casey, the Pastor, convened a meeting last Thursday in the Gate of Heaven’s Lower Hall. He presented a summary of the factors that went into the decision to raze the unused school building, and to convert the building’s “footprint” into additional parking. Bulletins published by the combined parishes of Gate of Heaven/St. Brigid contain the detailed reasoning that went into this decision.
As before, Fr, Casey emphasized that this decision was based, first and foremost, upon the desire to preserve the Gate of Heaven Church. Also, this will provide a path to pay off a debt still owed to the Archdiocese for renovations to Gate of Heaven Church in 2005. It will provide a regular source of funds to make long-term, future Church repairs as well.
Questions-and-answers then ensued. As an example, one audience member asked about elderly housing. That was certainly a valid point and an increasingly critical need on Boston and Vicinity. A partial answer was provided by another audience member, who referred to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). This Act requires costly new elevators and bathrooms in any renovated residential building. Another audience member, who had been a student at Gate of Heaven School, stated emphatically, “I hate to see the School torn down, but let’s do it. It’s time to move on!”
The wrap-up meeting ended positively, with a certain feeling of good will. The Gate of Heaven/St. Brigid Parish will now proceed to submit the necessary applications and paperwork for demolition of the School building later in 2018.