Friday, April 8, 2011

Churches Forgotten In Downtown Revitalization ?

Just part of the Renovations at a Important Downtown Orlando Church
Downtown revitalization of cities is often a huge topic. Countless votes have financed bond issues for such projects all over the country. Some are great successes other are great failures. In downtown revitalization there is of course the need for entertainment such as clubs , bars and restaurants and theatres. There is a need for diverse business operations. Often the art community is targeted and indeed are often part of the downtown housing that is put in. However what seems to be ignored? CHURCHES!!

Yes Churches often those places that are most historic and provide the backdrop. People who go to downtown Churches are often a devoted lot. They also seem to have a great love of their city and of tradition. It is not convenient for many. Further often expansion for Parish facilitates is problematic. However get the right vision in a downtown Church and one sees great growth. These people who will come downtown often can feel part of the community and thus add diversity and commerce to the area. I think this is overlooked.

In fact there might be depending on the availability of space a possibility of a school. Imagine the potential there. That is one reason I was glad to see the Orlando Downtown Partnership gave their award of the year to St James Cathedral . See St. James extreme makeover wins Orlando excellence award The $10 million makeover of St. James Cathedral received the Gold Brick Award of Excellence from the Downtown Orlando Partnership Thursday, April 7. The award recognizes efforts toward making downtown Orlando a more exciting, diverse and appealing place to live and work. Orlando Catholic Diocese Bishop John Noonan and Antonio Aguerrevere, senior director of design and construction services, accepted the award on behalf of the project team during the ceremony at the Sheraton Orlando Downtown Hotel.

The St. James Cathedral renovation, restoration and expansion project began on July 6, 2009 and ended on Nov. 20, 2010 with the cathedral’s dedication.

“This cathedral of St. James is built as a testament of faith of the priests and people of Orlando – a faith whose foundation is based on the word of God and the teaching of the Church of Jesus Christ. This cathedral is a beacon of hope to all people – welcoming the stranger, the forsaken, the suffering to come and pray to the almighty God of all consolation,” Noonan said.

Now of course not all Downtowns will have the Cathedral. But they will often have a important established historic Church. It is a critical part of any downtown development plan. Any effort that they make that tries to make it place of action for more than a hour of day should be encouraged. If the Catholic or top 3 or 4 other mainline Protestant Historic Churches are still downtown , it's worth your effort to make sure they stay and expand. If that happens you might see more Church development downtown which leads to a more diverse and live able downtown. Plus you get people that are primed to contribute back in many ways in providing services that go beyond liturgy or worship.

No comments: