Saturday, August 6, 2011

UPDATED 8-9-2011/// The New St. James Church: Many Questions; Few Answers

    Since January 2011 parishioners have been ask to support the campaign for a new church. However since then there have been many changes some of which only a few parishioners are aware. Just to clear things up --here is what you should be aware.

    • The capacity of the new Church is now 850
    • It is being planned to be located at the old convent/parking lot on Church Street and Caswell Streets. The main entrance doors will be on Caswell. [NOT on the 22 acres West of Belvidere on Town Hall Road]
    • The new church will have steps at the front and at all side entrances. The church will be handicapped accessible only for the front. The handicapped ramp will be much less steep than the current ramp however it will be approximately twice as long. And it will require the walker to enter on the school side of the church. See drawings at:
    • A number of neighbors have signed formal protest requests regarding the parish’s zoning request. None of the adjacent neighbors have agreed to sell their property to the parish.
    • Type of roof on the new church: Despite what the application for zoning stated and what Father Geary stated earlier, the roof apparently now is standard shingles—not a metal roof. (Metal roofs have a much longer life)
    • The old church will be torn down to make a parking lot. The new church will be five stories tall. There will be four inches (basically zero) set back on the Church Street side of the building.
    • The Parish will pay all city expenses for rebuilding the 300 block of Church Street to make diagonal parking alone the new church building.
      Few of the changes (such as those listed above) have been published in the weekly bulletin or any other written source. Father Geary has orally stated many things which “the Bishop will not approve or Diocese demands” but such things have not been written nor has the pastor, the parish finance committee or the parish council disseminated the information in written form to the parish. Other than continuing to solicit funds, parish administration has little desire to communicate with the parish members concerning changes to the new church.

      Is the Church still going to have a basement? NO, IT WILL NOT See 8-7-2011 Insert; click on following:

      Many heard that the project was running over the $5.5 limit [maybe this is $6,000,000, see insert] and no basement was being planned even though at public meetings an unfinished basement was stated. If there is no basement St. James Parish will have even less storage. The school and organizations are already complaining about storage. Where will the old stain glass and other sacred items be stored?

        QUESTIONS that remain unanswered:
        How much money does the campaign have in the Parish DIAL account?
        There have been many expenses for the campaign management firm, architect, surveying and legal. The campaign needs $1,000,000 in the DIAL account. How close are we to that requirement?
        What happens if the pledge goal of $3,000,000 is not reached?
        Will any funds be returned to the donors?
        Will the expenses for the campaign and pre-construction be shown in the parish’s June 30, 2011 annual statements to the parishioners?
        If not, what type of public accounting will parishioners receive and when?
        Will St. James be a good steward of the Earth in the building of the new church?
        Will modern ecological/energy-savings devises and systems be employed to lessen heating, cooling and lighting bills? Can a church with 50 feet ceilings ever be consider energy efficient? Will the demolition, constructions and operations be earth friendly?
        What is the projected cost of the total project now?
        Rumor says the church building will cost $6.4million and if there is a basement $7.5 million. And now there is talk that the parish will be buying the houses of the landowners who have signed formal protests. Could that be another $1,000,000?

        I have been told by Father Geary that he will answer these financial questions when he deems the parish should be told.

    Index for Concerned Catholics of Boone County


    Click on any of the following for stories regarding St. James Belvidere:

    Status of St James Zoning Request

    The following is taken from the 8-5-2011 Boone County Journal, available free of charge at merchants across the county or on-line at:


    Click on the photocopy to enlarge:


    8-5-2011 status1

    8-5-2011 status2

    BCJ Letter to Editor concerning St. James’ new church



    8-5-2011 Letter to Ed 1

    8-5-2011 Letter to Ed 2

    Were other parishioners’ questions unanswered?