Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Things are Warming Up at West-Park Presbyterian Church

West-Park Presbyterian Church
165 West 86th Street
Since its induction into the West Side landmark family in 2010, the community has filled West-Park Presbyterian Church with helping hands; we've seen it filled with intrigue and theatrical flair and with heavenly voices and inspirational instrumentsNow, let's fill West-Park with one of the basic essentials: heat!

Join the leadership and congregation of West-Park, Council Member Gale Brewer, members of the city-wide preservation community, and neighbors and supporters of West-Park next Thursday, November 10th, from 6-8PM for a fundraiser to benefit the church's boiler repair/replacement fund. 

Repairing or replacing the existing boiler is a major priority since, without heat, the congregation will be unable to use the church this winter, stalling efforts to revitalize the building.  Attend this upcoming fundraiser to contribute to this project and to hear updates as to "next steps" in the ongoing rejuvenation of this captivating red sandstone landmark.

             WHAT : Fundraiser to benefit 
                           West-Park Presbyterian Church
             WHEN : Thursday, Nov. 10th, 6-8PM
           WHERE : The Belnord Apartments
                           225 West 86th Street
                                 RSVP required; please email semplelisa@aol.com

Community Members Help LW! Meet the Challenge!
In the month of October, the congregation at West-Park received a challenge grant that would match up to $25,000 of monies raised toward the much needed repair/replacement of the church's insufficient boiler.  LW! reached out to its network of West-Park supporters and neighbors to inspire them to make a modest contribution -- $100, $50, whatever worked for each individual or family! -- and help toward the church's $25,000 goal.  We set forth a challenge: to raise $2,500 towards the total $25,000 needed.  In less than two weeks ... done!

The New York Landmarks Conservancy, who is administering the boiler fund, reported that indeed, the $25,000 goal was met (a total of $50,000 with matching funds).  The boiler project is estimated at $84,000 total -- help us go the distance.  Attend the November 10th fundraiser; be a part of the renewal of this community resource!

Preserving West-Park: Looking back to move forward
A 20-year community effort was thankfully rewarded on May 12, 2010, when the New York City Council affirmed the designation of the West-Park Presbyterian Church as a NYC Individual Landmark (click here to read the designation report).  The victory kickstarted a new chapter in the life of West-Park. 

Here's just a snapshot at some of the recent activity of LW!, the West-Park congregants, our local elected officials, and preservation colleagues, including the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Friends of West-Park, and Preservation Alumni:  

  • Long-time West-Park congregant and West Sider Jim Wadsworth secured a generous $5,000 donation from the Lois G. Roy Dickerman Fund as seed money towards replacing West-Park's failing boiler.  "The boiler must be in place in order to secure the development partners and renters necessary to fulfill our emerging business plan," Rev. Brashear shared.  The Dickerman Fund gift--made in honor of Mr. Wadsworth's late wife, Carol--is the first dedicated donation to the boiler project.

  • City Council Member Gale Brewer organized a fundraiser to collect starter funds for bricks-and-mortar restoration of West-Park.  The fund, managed by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, was recently put to work with roof repairs to West-Park's sanctuary and chapel.  At the same time, the Conservancy spent $10,000 from a special Rockefeller Foundation grant to initiate architectural services to establish a phased exterior restoration plan.  The plan will be completed this month, with a priority to facade work that will allow the removal of the sidewalk bridge at long last.  A significant step in the long process of West-Park's physical rejuvenation!

    The West-Park restoration fund remains open for contributions!  Checks can be made payable to "New York Landmarks Conservancy," with "WPPC" as the memo, and mailed to:

                     New York Landmarks Conservancy
                     ATTN: Peg Breen, President
                     1 Whitehall Street
                     New York, NY  10004

  • Members of the West-Park congregation teamed with Preservation Alumni, the alumni organization for graduates of Columbia University's Historic Preservation Masters Program, LW!, Friends of West-Park, and the generous team of Jack Pontes Brownstone Restorations for a day-long interior clean up of the church's sanctuary.  Dusting, vacuuming, buffing, scrubbing ... you name it!  Dozens of volunteers turned out to put their muscles to work for the preservation of West-Park.   

  • LW! worked with architects and an electrician to upgrade the church's wiring and emergency exit lighting to help make it possible for the congregation to open its doors for public events, such as a holiday craft fair in December and this summer's Bridge Concert Series.  
The all-volunteer crew celebrates the successful clean-up of West-Park in December 2010.

Designation was only the beginning of what must continue to be a robust, sustained, community-wide effort.  Full restoration of West-Park Presbyterian Church will be a major undertaking, but we must begin with manageable goals, such as the ongoing development of a strategic plan.

See you at the fundraiser!

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