Thursday, August 29, 2013

Group trying to save former Stevens Point convent

The future of a downtown Stevens Point building is unknown.

St. Stephen's Convent at 1401 Clark Street is no longer used by the church, and is falling into disrepair. The church and the Diocese of La Crosse wish to demolish the 59-year-old structure. Several members of the community wish to save it.

After the church decided last fall to demolish the building, they received a letter from the city saying they could not since it is located in a downtown historical preservation zone. At Monday’s City Council meeting, a motion to grant the demolition permit was denied. Several council members, citizens, and Mayor Andrew Halverson agreed they should take 30 days to see if the building can be preserved.

One of the city residents speaking in favor of saving the convent was Mary Ann Laszewski. She quoted a 2011 Historical Survey saying the building’s neo-gothic designs and clad stone easily qualifies it for the National Register of Historic Places. She also says St. Stephens is the last complete catholic campus with a church, school, rectory, and convent and should be preserved. “I find the most egregious insult to this discussion is St. Stephens is stating that the convent holds no significant American history, culture, or heritage. For over 114 years, arriving in 1873, the very eminent sisters of Notre Dame gave us their entire lives to educating the children tuition free and the needs of this parish.”
continue at WSAU

Birnbaum goes onto cite... Constitutional law....  Okaaaaay...

Then from this weekend.
City leaders and Saint Stephen Parish officials are battling over the future of a nearly 60-year-old convent that the church wants to demolish, but history buffs want to save.

The convent was added to the Saint Stephen campus in downtown Stevens Point in 1954 and first was used as a home for nuns. The campus now consists of Saint Stephen Church, the rectory, Saint Stephen Elementary School and the convent. It has served thousands of parishioners from across central Wisconsin over the years, including City Council members Randy Stroik, Mike Wiza and Jerry Moore.

But the convent hasn’t been used as a home for nuns for years, and as its use as a community center and storage space waned, the building gradually slipped into disrepair — so much so that the parish says it can no longer afford to maintain or repair it.

As a result, the structure would need thousands of dollars in repairs before it could be used again — $40,000 to fix the roof alone — and the parish would prefer to raze the structure and devote its land to green space.

Saint Stephen Parish attorney James Birnbaum said the building has been stripped of most of its furnishings, including its stained-glass windows, cabinets and just about anything of value; the water and heat also have been disconnected.
continue at Point Journal

Was the town named after the church?

I found a historical article, but if the church is only 60 years old the photos are all pre this church ..(but check out interior from 1901).


2 comments:

  1. Point is named after George Stevens early logger and businessman in the area....

    ReplyDelete

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