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Answered prayers for St. Gabe’s?

JIM COLLIGAN PHOTO | St. Gabriel’s Chapel.

JIM COLLIGAN PHOTO |
St. Gabriel’s Chapel.

There’s a good chance the chapel can be saved.

After it was revealed that Richard Hogan, the owner of the 25-acre St. Gabriel’s property where the 78-year old chapel stands, had plans to demolish it and just keep parts of it, including the stained glass windows, Supervisor Jim Dougherty said Monday that the town would seek grants to preserve it.

On Tuesday, at the Town Board work session, Kathryn O’Hagan-Klenawicus said her family would provide space for the chapel on family property.

After the meeting, Ms. O’Hagan-Klenawicus said a tentative site could be on the Klenawicus Airfield close to Marc Road.

“This is very preliminary and we don’t want to commit to anything until we can make sure the structure can be moved,” Ms. O’Hagan-Klenawicus told the Reporter.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Supervisor Jim Dougherty said he had spoken with Mr. Hogan, calling him a “very good neighbor” and “an environmentalist” and was in favor of saving the chapel.

The town will seek a matching grant, which Mr. Dougherty said would be a “very modest amount of money.”

Ms. O’Hagan-Klenawicus said that the de-consecrated chapel could be used as an art gallery or a community center.

The question now is if the chapel is sturdy enough to be moved.

Mr. Hogan, who in an appearance before the Planning Board in July 2015, said, “Nobody in my family would be comfortable knocking down a church,” changed course recently.

He and his attorney have said that if left standing the chapel would deteriorate and become an eyesore on the property.

Councilman Jim Colligan said he’d been hearing from his constituents asking if anything can be done to save the chapel. A story in the Reporter (“St. Gabriel’s is living on a prayer,” March 17) and posted on its website, sparked responses from many readers expressing outrage or sorrow or both.

Mr. Hogan’s Pandion Acquisitions bought the mostly undeveloped 25-acre property on Coecles Harbor in April 2015 from the Passionists, a Catholic religious order, for $15.1 million. Mr. Hogan plans to subdivide and develop the property.

The property had been up sale for years. Mr. Dougherty had advocated using Community Preservation Fund money — a tax collected on real estate sales that goes to purchase open space — to buy St. Gabriel’s and preserve it.

But the town’s Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board, the group tasked with targeting and vetting open space purchases, said the fund didn’t have the money, plus St. Gabriel’s is a developed property and can’t be classified as open space.

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