In a reprieve to Mid-Queens civic group members, a Middle Village cemetery has offered to house historic St. Savior’s Church on its grounds — but only if enough money can be raised to relocate the church before its owner tries to demolish it.
Three weeks after the church’s owner, Maspeth Development Corp., LLC, posted demolition notices at its Rust Street property, the president of All Faiths Cemetery, Dan Austin, agreed to provide space for the imperiled, 160-year-old sanctuary.
“These folks have worked extremely hard to keep this place standing for so long,” he said of the civic group members’ two-year fight to thwart the owner’s plan to build housing on the now-dilapidated church site. “We would be honored to have such an historic building on our property.”
Still, the group, the Juniper Park Civic Association — which has lobbied, so far unsuccessfully, to have the church land converted into a public park — faces a slew of preliminary hurdles in its latest efforts to save the 1847 Gothic wooden structure.
For one, the church’s owner has yet to respond to their recent entreaties to hold off on further demolition work until enough funds have been raised. More pressingly, advocates have to come up with the money.
JPCA member Christina Wilkinson said she has sent numerous letters to state and city lawmakers requesting financial support, but has yet to receive a commitment.
Nevertheless, she is hopeful her group will eventually attract enough support to the project: “The thing is, once people realize this could actually happen,” she said, “that’s when the donations are going to start.”
Maspeth Development Corp. could not be reached for comment.