By ROSALEE OWEN
This letter is in regard to the church at Fifth Street and Central Avenue in Dunkirk.
The congregation of First Christian Church, which was the group which had that building since 1904, found themselves with a dwindling congregation, and limited finances, with which to maintain the building. The building itself was viable, but in need of a new roof and heating system.
Wanting to see that building remained and used, we contacted many groups in 2003, '04 and '05. Discussions were held with Nancy Clarke in the city of Dunkirk Department of Development about the possibility of a youth center. Discussions also were held with John Murphy of CHRIC regarding possible uses by their group.
Both groups found that the building offered them many possibilities, but were unable to acquire funds to do the needed work. Several church groups made overtures regarding the building and two submitted proposals and financial statements that indicated they would be able to utilize the building and do the needed repairs. After several meetings, and perusal of the submitted data, the group decided that the proposal submitted by the Iglesia Getsemani group would be the one in the best interests of the city and they were given the building.
It was disheartening as time evolved to see that nothing they had presented came to fruition. Were we misled? Perhaps. But now, to read that they were paid $150,000 for a building in which they had invested nothing was certainly upsetting. And that is only a drop in the bucket of what Brooks Hospital will yet pay to raze the building and create a parking lot. There goes the costs of health care!
But this is touted as progress! Well, so was Urban Renewal, and we have been suffering the consequences of that for many years.
RosaLee Owen, a Dunkirk resident, is a former member and secretary of First Christian Church in Dunkirk.