Sale of St. Patrick’s on the way; saving building unlikely

Sale of St. Patrick’s on the way; saving building unlikely

The process of finding a second life for the old St. Patrick Church, at 301 Broad St. in Cumberland, and its rectory has officially begun. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

CUMBERLAND – On each of the large front red doors of the old St. Patrick Church at 301 Broad St., arrows point to the sides of the building directing those who might tour the grand building to use the side doors. “Danger of falling masonry,” read the signs.

The Rev. Jacques Plante, administrator of the merged St. Aidan-St. Patrick Parish in Cumberland, said this week that the danger is due to grout coming loose from between the masonry stones. An estimate for repairing just the exterior of the building has come in at $1.5 million, he told The Valley Breeze.

The process of finding a second life for the old St. Patrick Church and its rectory has officially begun, says Plante, though it’s still too early to say what will happen to the old building. Church leaders are now looking at all options for the property, he said, with a member of its finance council visiting Cumberland Town Hall this month to learn more about zoning on the property.

“We’re considering all the possibilities for the whole parcel,” said Plante. “We’re at the beginning stages.”

Options, he said, include selling, renting or leasing the property. Available options are much more plentiful for the rectory next door, he said, with office space a possibility.

The actual main church structure presents a much bigger challenge, said Plante, as it’s cost-prohibitive to bring it up to code. In addition to exterior masonry pointing, the broken heating system that forced the closure of the parish last year due to it posing a danger still hasn’t been fixed. A leak in the system had caused heating bills to top $1,600 per month.

Plante said he can’t see the old St. Patrick’s becoming a church again, particularly given the continued decline in attendance at Catholic churches in Rhode Island.

Plante announced last May that St. Patrick’s would eventually be sold for secular use, with many of the old valued artifacts removed first and brought to St. Aidan’s on Diamond Hill Road as part of the merger. The Providence Diocese was not interested in maintaining it.

Officially, the goal is to sell it for “secular use, but not sordid use,” such as a strip club. There would be no stipulation that the church be left standing as a condition of the sale, said Plante last year.

St. Aidan’s, where parishioners from both churches now meet, was originally born out of St. Patrick’s Church in 1962.

Church leaders see this church on the corner lot at the intersection of Broad and Church streets as prime real estate. It is located next to the Blackstone Valley Prep Elementary School.

St. Patrick Parish was established in 1861 and served parishioners in the Valley Falls section of Cumberland for more than 150 years.

Comments

please please please no developments here too... we don't need more developments, or more shoddy workmanship from someone that seemed to get permit after permit to build.... no names needed. It's too bad this beautiful building may get torn down in the process....