I hope everyone is enjoying the summer. It is moving fast. I write this note as a follow-up on the St. Anthony school building. We were thinking and praying about this matter for years. It took space in the Price County Review and Catholic Herald several times. I sent you letters informing the progress. Recently we had the 100th-anniversary celebration. A lot of people thanked me for the opportunity to walk through the building and reminiscing. I want to say thank you to the Parish and Finance Council, 100th Year Celebration Committee, KC, CCW and so many of you for making the celebration beautiful. Above all, I want to thank God for guiding us and blessing us with a beautiful day.
I hope all of you had the opportunity to participate in the celebration or read in the Price County Review or Catholic Herald. Our goal was to come up with a final decision on the 100th-anniversary celebration, but we couldn’t get there. As you know, the parish and finance council looked at three different possibilities for the school building: reopen, raze, or sell. Some of the things are repeated, but I want everyone to understand how we get to the final decision.
Last December we sent out a survey to explore the idea of reopening the St. Anthony School. 115 families participated in the survey. Of 115 families, 43 express the desire to reopen the school. 55 families answered no and the rest of them are undecided. In 43 families, 17 of them are younger families with children. We have 26 children who want to enroll in St. Anthony school. There were people who made promises of over a million dollars if we came up with a viable plan. They don't like to make any commitment until we have a viable plan. The survey was promising, but it was not enough.
Many people came and looked at the building to turn into apartments, a community center, YMCA, and so on. Most of them looked at the building to make apartments. Alpha Development Corporation gave us a purchase agreement to buy the school building to turn into apartments. As I mentioned before, the developer is interested in the school and the rectory. The developer stated that they would provide residency for the priest or give $150,000.00. The question we face as a parish is what we have for the future generation. The Parish and Finance council try to answer the question and come up with the best decision. If we sell the buildings, St. Anthony of Padua parish has nothing much left other than a parking lot. We need to look at the bigger picture, what we need to leave for the future generation.
We also looked at the cost of maintaining the building. We were spending 40,000.00 to 45,000.00 a year for basic maintenance like water and sewer, electricity, gas, insurance, and emergency repairs. Major repairs were on hold.
Finally, our discussion moved to the third option: demolishing the building. We approached different demolition companies for proposals for the demolition of the building. The lowest proposal is $ 300,000.00. The LEGEND Technical Service, Inc. is doing the asbestos/led inspection prior to the demolition. It was not an easy decision, but finally, the parish and finance council recommended demolishing the building. So, I wrote to the Bishop to inform the recommendation of the Parish and Finance Council and last Monday St. Anthony Corporate Board approved the demolition of the building. It is not an easy decision, but we pray and trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we made the best decision in a given situation. We will be taking a loan for this project. If any of you can donate towards it or the parish can borrow money from you, please contact me (Fr. Shaji) or one of the Parish and Finance Council members.
This weekend's reading is perseverance in prayer. Abraham was persistent in prayer for the people in the Gospel and Jesus talked about the need for perseverance in prayer. In this difficult time, we need to come together and pray. When we pray together everything will be possible. So please message other people who are not in the church and invite them to join our Eucharistic celebration.