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Published: Tuesday, 12/4/2012

Maumee gives church OK to raze old rectory

BLADE STAFF
Former rectory next to St. Joseph's Church in Maumee. The church has received permission from the city to demolish the building. The church plans to replace it with an Adoration Chapel. Former rectory next to St. Joseph's Church in Maumee. The church has received permission from the city to demolish the building. The church plans to replace it with an Adoration Chapel.
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The 110-year-old former rectory at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Maumee has moved closer to a date with the wrecking ball.

The church recently won approval from the city's Architectural Review Board to demolish the two-story building next to the church at 104 Broadway.

In its place, the church wants to construct a one-story adoration chapel that would be connected to the church. Built in 1902, the rectory underwent additions in 1927, 1954, and 1978, and has not been used by the parish since the early 1990s.

The Rev. Keith Stripe, pastor of the church who appeared before the review board during the meeting on Nov. 15, said the church leaders at one time looked at preserving the rectory but found it was too costly.

He said the structure, originally designed to house four priests and a housekeeper, has a number of issues and improvements would run in the neighborhood of nearly $400,000.

According to Father Stripe, needed renovations include replacing the roof and 77 windows, overhauling heating and cooling systems, and foundation improvements that are needed because water is seeping into the basement.

"We have got nob and tubing wiring and there is only one bathroom that works," he said.

The rectory was last used as parishes offices, but that was relocated to a building on the other side of the church years ago, Father Stripe said.

The Architectural Review Board vote was 4-1, with James Jarvis casting the only no vote.

Father Stripe said the adoration chapel is part of the parish's multi-phase $6.2 million renovation and expansion that began in 2010.

The new building, which would connect to the church, would replace an adoration chapel that is currently located in the church basement that is not easily accessible to elderly and people with disabilities.

"The steps down into it are steep and treacherous in the winter," Father Stripe said. "The basement was hand dug after the church was built and the ceiling height is not great."

Father Stripe said the new chapel will be connected to the church and will have two parking spaces behind it.

"It also will open up the corner so people can see the beautiful church," he said. "We want the church to be the dominate piece of architecture."

Ty Szumigala, board review member, said the parish plans for the property will improve the appearance of the corner that serves as a gateway to the city.

"I think the rector is in terrible shape," he said. "Architecturally, the building has been allowed to be remodeled or expanded over the years with no directions. There just is not much left from the original structure."

"Personally, I think with the building removed it will make the corner better and the church will look much better to people coming into the city," he said.

So far, the church has completed $4 million of the capital improvements, including refinishing pews and kneelers, interior painting, restoration of stained-glass windows, reconfiguation of the balcony, roof repairs, construction of a new altar, and heating, air conditioning, and lighting upgrades.

The building program also includes adding a two-story structure to connect the church and parish school, with a room to be used primarily for luncheons after funerals, a multi-purpose room, restrooms, and elevator.

Father Stripe said a timeline has not been set for the razing and chapel construction, which is estimated to cost about $150,000.

---Mark Reiter



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