Some Details on the Proposal for the Gate of Heaven School ‘Gate of Heaven Church Preservation’

By now the word is out about the proposal to take down the Gate of Heaven School and make it into parking with some green space. It was announced by Father Casey at last weekend’s Masses and is the talk of the town on South Boston’s many social media sites, as well as on the street. The proposal, which needs Archdiocese and City approval is called the ‘Gate of Heaven Church Preservation’.

The building, which is nearly a hundred years old and has provided thousands of neighborhood children with a good Catholic School education over the generations, hasn’t served in that capacity for many years. It was closed 9 years ago. As most neighbors know, for the past 4 plus years, it has been the object of controversy as the neighborhood and the Archdiocese debated about what to do with it. There were proposals from developers to turn the well preserved structure into more condos. This idea was met with opposition by many residents with some of that opposition being fierce and well organized. It included a law suit by the Gate of Heaven Neighborhood Association.

Many residents had hoped that it would be once again utilized as a private or even a charter school, while still others suggested housing for seniors, veterans and/or the disabled. But, according to church and even neighborhood sources, few if any acceptable proposals were financially feasible, if the stated goal by most involved was to preserve the beautiful and cathedral like Gate of Heaven Church for future generations was to me realized. And that’s what this effort hopes to accomplish, and it has the open support of the Gate of Heaven Neighborhood Association leadership.

Kevin Lally, who heads the Gate of Heaven Neighborhood Association, sent out a letter to residents that was reported in the Boston Globe in which he stated the following: “Demolition was not my first choice, but when I rst got involved in this, it was to make sure that the Parish had the funds to keep the church that we all love open for generations to come. With this additional revenue I feel that someday my son and, if I’m around long enough, a grandchild or two will be baptized in the Gate of Heaven Church”.

The backers of this proposal, after studying the pros and cons of every idea floated, say that they feel that the demolition of the school and the transformation planned will serve to provide much needed additional parking for residents, as well as for events held at the church such as Masses, weddings, funerals etc. In addition, with the donations for those parking spots, it will provide the revenue to keep Gate of Heaven Church open and well maintained for future generations, which is the most important thing.

If all goes as planned, and is approved by the city, demolition could begin sometime this spring or early summer. The number of parking spots will be increased to 85 and residents, who currently hold reserved parking would con- tinue to have them, and provisions for 24-hour parking will be looked at as well.

In a separate column in this publication there is an explanation of the Gate of Heaven Church Preservation proposal provided to South Boston Today by church of offcials, which gives additional detailed information about the upcoming plans and why they are considered necessary for the future of Gate of Heaven. Diagrams and drawings of the plans will also be available. South Boston Today will keep our readers updated on the issue as we plan to pass on information on the status as we learn of it.