Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Last week we reported on the ongoing prep work to demolish the former Mary Help of Christians school and rectory. The church on East 12th Street, which opened in 1917, remains free of the demolition bondage as of last night.
As previously reported, East Village community and preservation groups were hoping that the historic church that developer Douglas Steiner plans to develop can be spared... the groups learned that a large cemetery was formerly found on this site, and called for a complete archaeological evaluation of the site before any work proceeded.
And what became of that request following the press conference on May 23?
"We did hear back from the Landmark Preservation Commission that they abdicated all responsibility to even require an archeological survey," said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. "So Steiner may end up digging up bodies, and the public may never know."
As far as next steps with trying to preserve the church, Berman said that their options are limited.
"Thus far common sense, decency, reasonable alternatives, and appeals to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to do their job have not stopped Steiner from moving ahead with his cemetery-condos plan," he said.
Steiner bought the property last fall for an unspecified residential complex.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Permits filed to demolish Mary Help of Christians church, school and rectory
Preservationists call for archeological review of former cemetery at Mary Help of Christians site
Scaffolding arrives for demolition of Mary Help of Christians