At a press conference Monday, March 31st at 1pm, JPCA President Robert Holden and All Faiths Cemetery CEO Dan Austin announced the tentative agreement to move St. Saviour's to the cemetery.
The church was hours away from being demolished on Thursday, March 20th, when Holden finally spoke with the developer face-to-face and got him to agree to donate the building as long as JPCA removed it from the site within 30 days. The battle to save St. Saviour's, built in 1847 by Maspeth pioneers and designed by world renowned architect, Richard Upjohn, has been going on for more than 2 years.
Councilman Tony Avella was needed at the city council on Monday, but representatives of Newtown Historical Society, the Historic Districts Council and Queens Historical Society were present at the press conference to celebrate the agreement.
The following statement by Councilman Avella was read by Paul Graziano, President of HDC, at the press conference:
I am pleased and proud to join with the Juniper Park Civic Association and the entire Maspeth community to celebrate a victory in what has been a long, trying fight to save St. Saviour's Church.
As you know, we have encountered numerous, at times, overwhelming, obstacles as we have endeavored to protect and preserve this historic property over the course of the past two and half years. In the face of these challenges the community, led by members of the Juniper Park Civic Association, refused to be silenced and instead, thought "outside of the box". It is that creativity and industriousness that gave rise to the agreement to relocate St. Saviour's Church to All Faiths Cemetery. Although details have yet to be arranged, I am confident that this solution will preserve this important historic building and enrich the entire Maspeth community.
Rest assured, you have my continued support.
Paul Graziano's statement on behalf of the Historic Districts Council:
The Historic Districts Council is honored to stand here today with the JPCA, the Newtown Historical Society and all the other advocates for the preservation of St. Savior's Church. These preservationists and this campaign represents the heart and soul of grassroots preservation efforts in New York; they have knocked on every door and asked every official to help them save St. Savior's and when they were told it couldn't be done and that this church was going down, that only made them work harder. Despite being repeatedly rebuffed by the City to help them save this important landmark building, we stand here today – months after this church was supposed to be leveled, still without landmark designation, still without the long-sought assistance from the City, but regardless, on the threshold of saving this landmark. This is preservation without a safety net and we applaud, salute and support these courageous community preservationists. Through their efforts, there is now a pathway to saving this building, and we must all band together to reach that goal.
We do anticipate needing additional donations to make this a reality. Please send donations to:
Save St. Saviour's Inc.
c/o Juniper Park Civic Assoc.
PO Box 790275
Middle Village, NY 11379
(Please make check payable to "Save St. Saviour's Inc." )