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Old 04-03-2012, 02:56 AM   #1
itchy
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New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

Mods, feel free to take this down if it's too out there, but I couldn't resist when I saw this article:

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Originally Posted by Boston Globe View Post

Wellesley signs agreement to buy St. James the Great Church

By Evan Allen, Town Correspondent

Wellesley’ selectmen have signed an agreement with the Archdiocese of Boston to purchase St. James the Great Church, a Catholic church shuttered in 2004 and occupied since then by parishioners who refuse to let go of what they say is their spiritual home.

The agreement, signed Monday and posted on the town’s website, is contingent upon Town Meeting approval, according to Hans Larsen, Wellesley’s Executive Director.

“We have a vision and we have a deal signed with the Archdiocese that we are excited about,” he said. “We’ve got a lot more planning work to do.”

The agreement sets the price of the 8-acre site on Route 9 at $3.8 million. The purchase would be financed by Community Preservation Act funds and borrowing, according to the Town Clerk’s Office.

Larsen said that the town hopes to turn the land where the church currently sits into a skating rink, playing field and swimming pool. The church itself, he said, will have to come down.

“We would expect it to be demolished,” said Larsen.


The church has been a sore spot for the Archdiocese, which has been fighting efforts by parishioners holding vigil to reopen it as a place of worship.

The Archdiocese deconsecrated the church building last July. Deconsecration is a process that turns a house of worship into a secular space. Parishioners have filed an appeal with the Vatican to reverse the deconsecration.

That appeal was recently denied, according to Terry Donilon, Archdiocesan Secretary for Communications. The parishioners, he said, have the right to appeal again to the highest court of the Vatican. The sale of the church is dependent on the completion of the appeals process, he said.

“We’ve got to let the canonical process play out,” he said.

Though Donilon said he didn’t know how long that would take, selectmen chairwoman Barbara Searle said the town wants to close on the property this fall. Parish representatives were told of the situation last Friday, Donilon said.

Suzanne Hurley, a spokeswoman for the St. James parishioners, said that they were still discussing their next step, but that she “would not be surprised” if they decided to appeal again.

She said that as far as the St. James parishioners were concerned, it would be “business as usual” with the vigil.

“We are not changing anything,” she said.

Lights were on at St. James on Monday night, but no one answered the door. A sign on the door of the church read “Save St. James,” and a sign in the parking lot still alerts passers-by that the church is “Searching For a Priest.”

Donilon said that the archdiocese hopes that the St. James parishioners will ultimately join another parish.

“We’re not looking to have them not be a part of our Catholic church,” he said. “We want them to be part of another parish that is open.”

The Board of Selectmen will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, April 4, at 7 p.m. to give a complete report on St. James. The town will hold a Special Town Meeting on June 13 to seek approval for the purchase of the church.

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/...ll_Local_Links
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:41 AM   #2
BarbaricManchurian
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

lol it's a church. If they actually place a skating rink, playing field and swimming pool on the plot it will be a more vibrant use of the property.
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:44 AM   #3
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston



^^^ Perhaps reason enough to tear it down.

And the proposed use of the six acres that comes with the church is not really to be 'open space'; a hockey rink, a swimming pool, and a playing field.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:46 AM   #4
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

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Originally Posted by BarbaricManchurian View Post
lol it's a church. If they actually place a skating rink, playing field and swimming pool on the plot it will be a more vibrant use of the property.
Agreed. Also, not sure why open space in general is a huge problem in Wellesley. It's Wellesley.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:45 AM   #5
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

Crikey, you guys can't take a joke, huh?

Regardless, I do think it's worthwhile to catalogue the number of demands/agreements to take a perfectly good urban opportunity (yes, this will usually be in Boston, not Wellesley) and turn it into a useless, half-arsed park. Having a record of how often this happens may end up doing the city some good.

Back to Wellesley, it is pretty ridiculous -- and indicative of the same mindset that pervades in Boston -- that as soon as the town gets some say on what to do with a piece of property, the first thing that comes to mind is "open space! park!"

I haven't spent much time in Wellesley, but isn't the whole town essentially a park?
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:48 AM   #6
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

I'll leave this up but I think your approach of a good subject is pretty biased and ignorant (as in, this is a problem but you've chosen the most inconsequential example to demonstrate it.)
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:02 AM   #7
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

Useless? Sounds to me like the park will be intensively used once built, given the uses the town wants to put in it.

The location is along Route 9, not in or near the town center or other developed commercial area. If this was in Wellesley Square or on Route 16 I'd think more of your argument.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:12 AM   #8
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

Sounds like this development will be quite nice and bring some life to the site.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:21 AM   #9
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

Grew up in swellesley, used this church for Boy Scouts, like this proposal. I like the town but this response is more because i feel like people don't know what they're talking about than any true love for the developments (lots of problems there)

Even when this was still an active church it had a tiny congregation compared to how large the church was and had more parking than probably any other place in the entire town (the church used to rent spaces to the jeep dealer in natick to store its cars). It has also been empty / in vigil for the last 4 years?

So yea, I think a municipal complex on the site is probably one of the best uses.

1) It addresses a deficiency, the town does not have a public pool or rink and the athletic fields are at/beyond capacity. Not only does a municipal complex solve these issues, but this is probably the best/least controversial place to put one, particularly from a traffic/accessibility standpoint.

2) As Ron mentioned its not like this is anywhere near Washington (main st.) depriving the town of creating a better pedestrian experience. This plot is only accessible from Rt. 9, so its either this or...office park (Mathworks)/retirement home. Good luck trying to convince anyone of pedestrian retail on rt. 9...hell good luck convincing anyone of retail in this section of rt. 9 where the only things that have survived are Jarvis and the Jag/Volvo dealer.

Also, of all the towns with "open space" fetishes I would not include Wellelsey in that category. It's already pretty much built to capacity lot-wise, with development falling into McMansionization or commercial redevelopment. For the most part the commercial lots that are available are generally being developed in more "urbanish" ways. For example the Linden St. redevelopment (which i personally hate) at least added two new buildings in a former parking lot that actually meet the sidewalk and provide for some semblance of a pedestrian experience. Also the old Grossmans/parking lot was just replaced by large condo complex, also newly built out to sidewalk. There have also been a couple of smaller condo complex's built in the last few years.

Take a drive through, it's not turning into Brookline but its certainly not trying to be a 495 burb either.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

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Originally Posted by vanshnookenraggen View Post
biased and ignorant (as in, this is a problem but you've chosen the most inconsequential example to demonstrate it.)
I think that is the most inconsequential example to sling the words "biased and ignorant" at. Biased? Ignorant? Really? That's a bit much here, no? I was half-jokingly showing that even in places awash with open space, there is no limit to the amount of park space that some want. I really don't care much about what the residents of Wellesley do, but this is a real problem in some of the parts of Boston that would otherwise hold the greatest promise (e.g., the Seaport's seemingly ever-burgeoning number of parks). Yes, I do think it's worth keeping a thread of all the demands for parks in Boston; no, I'm not even remotely offended that Wellesley wants another park, though it did strike me as amusing.

Anyway, Hutchison, thanks for your insights. I didn't know anything about Wellesley's lack of sports facilities, so it sounds like this addresses a need. All others can call off their dogs now, I suppose
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:53 PM   #11
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

Aite, no harm no foul. Guess I read it with a different inflection than was intended.
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:25 PM   #12
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

As long as children will still be allowed in the space unattended, I'm all for it ...
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:28 PM   #13
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

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As long as children will still be allowed in the space unattended, I'm all for it ...
Heaven forbid! Don't you know?! There's pedophiles out there! Wellesly just isn't what it used to be, it's dangerous now.

Not to mention it will be on the former site of a church. A church! Pedophiles congregate there!
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:58 PM   #14
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Re: New Non-Development: The "Open Space" Fetish In and Around Boston

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Heaven forbid! Don't you know?! There's pedophiles out there! Wellesly just isn't what it used to be, it's dangerous now.

Not to mention it will be on the former site of a church. A church! Pedophiles congregate there!
Urb -- its hardly Newton when it comes to pedophiles -- but I'm guessing there might be a few -- the good thing is that the lots are so big and the families so small that you can sprinkle Class #3 pervs around at random and they'll still be fairly far from the typical kid
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