When the Church of the Redeemer announced it would demolish its Gothic Revival structure at 24 4th Avenue at Pacific Street last year, the plan ignited community protest. Carolynn DiFiore Balmelle of the East Pacific Street Block Association updated us on the group’s continuing efforts to save the church. Since last July they have been fighting to repurpose the building, which was used as a school back in the ’70s. DiFiore Balmelle reached out to area preschools to gauge interest in moving into the structure; two schools seriously considered it and were given a tour last month. There’s still resistance from the church, though: Although they could charge an annual rent of $400,000 for the space, they are arguing that it would take $4 million to get the building back up to snuff. The church’s original plan was to demolish for a mixed-use building, including a new church and residential units. DiFiore Balmelle estimates that the existing structure, which needs its roof, electricity, and plumbing replaced, needs $2 million in repairs. She isn’t hopeful that the church will ultimately agree to rent out or repair the building. There also isn’t hope that Landmarks will step in to designate this building, which will soon be 160 years old. The community is holding another meeting to talk strategy, organize protest, and gain more support on Tuesday, April 30. It’ll be held at the YWCA at 30 3rd Avenue at 7 pm.
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