Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Town Hall to discuss the future of the neighborhood's former religious properties

[The former Church of the Nativity on 2nd Avenue]

The Cooper Square Community Land Trust has organized a Town Hall for Monday night at Cooper Union (details below) to discuss potential future opportunities for former religious properties in the neighborhood.

As previously reported, the Land Trust had explored buying the former Church of the Nativity on Second Avenue to use as low-income housing. However, the Archdiocese of New York reportedly didn't seem too keen on that idea, perhaps intent on garnering top dollar for the prime real estate for luxury housing between Second Street and Third Street.

In early April, Catholic Homes New York, the affordable housing unit of Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of New York, announced plans to redevelop several existing properties to provide 2,000 affordable units in NYC over the next 10 years. Not on the affordable-housing list: Church of the Nativity and the Church of Saint Emeric on 13th Street near Avenue D.

Here are more details about Monday's Town Hall via the EVG inbox...

The community is extremely concerned about the losses of religious properties, as well as the redevelopment of these buildings into luxury housing which has led to the severe displacement of our senior and working-class neighborhoods and communities of color.

“We recognize the good that religious institutions do for our community, but these institutions also have a moral obligation to avoid doing social harm,” said Valerio Orselli, project director of the Cooper Square Community Land Trust.

The agenda will include a brief presentation that is based on a recent international conference in Rome titled, “Doesn’t God Live Here Anymore?” It will answer the questions of just what is the appropriate re-use of closed or at risk religious-owned properties and who is to be involved in making the decision.

A focal point of the discussion will be the Church of the Nativity, which is closely identified with Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement and candidate for canonization by the Catholic Church.

Joanne Kennedy from The Catholic Worker said, “We are disheartened by the unnatural inflation of Manhattan’s property values but hopeful that Nativity will be developed into low-income housing that would be consistent with both Dorothy Day’s and the Archdiocese’s mission of social justice.”

The Case for Community Land Trusts, the final segment, will enhance the necessity for land trusts and also emphasize the Town Hall Meeting’s goal: to advance toward a new, transparent relationship between communities and religious institutions.

The Town Hall is set for Monday (May 6) at 7 p.m. in the Rose Auditorium at Cooper Union, 41 Cooper Square at Seventh Street.

The meeting is sponsored by the Cooper Square Community Land Trust, Community Board 3, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council members Carlina Rivera and Margaret Chin, Habitat for Humanity, Cooper Square Committee, and several other political representatives and organizations.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Residences rising from the former Mary Help of Christians lot will now be market-rate condos

Looking at the Church of Saint Emeric on East 13th Street

From St. Emeric's to St. Brigid's

Educator: Turning the former Church of the Nativity into luxury housing would be a 'sordid use' of the property

The fight to keep Church of the Nativity from becoming luxury housing

Report: Archdiocese of New York announces affordable-housing projects; fate of 2 East Village churches unknown

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