Tuesday, July 5, 2011

St. James Church zoning requests up for Belvidere approval tonight

Didn’t Father explain that the church is now just 850 capacity?

July 5th, 2011 at 06:17pmBetsy Lopez

St. James Church officials in Belvidere are pushing forward on plans to erect a new church near the current house of worship at 535 Caswell St. Initially, officials looked at moving the church to a parcel at Squaw Prairie and Town hall Road, but that idea was nixed early in the planning process.

Erecting a new church is a venture that’s budgeted to cost $5.5 million and fundraising efforts have been under way since late January. To date, the church has raised $650,000 in cash and $2.4 million has been pledged for the project and in order to get the go-ahead from the Rockford Diocese must raise $3 million in pledges and $1 million in cash, said the Rev. Brian Geary, the church’s pastor.

St. James officials hope that one day in the near future, the current church will be torn down and turn the land it sits on into a parking lot — but that idea is meeting resistance. In recent weeks, neighbors of the church have looked to Belvidere city officials to deny zoning requests for the expansion.

Tonight at 7 p.m. the Belvidere City Council will vote on whether to grant the church’s zoning requests, including a special use permit for the new structure. A new building could hold up to 1,000 parishioners, versus the current church which holds 300 to 350 people.

Check back to rrstar.com for more. Staff writer Betsy Lopez can be reached at blopez@rrstar.com or 815-544-3452 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 815-544-3452 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

This posting is also available at: http://www.boonecountycatholics.blogspot.com/ More postings regarding St. James are available at that site.