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St. Savior’s time is running out

An artist's rendering of St. Saviour's Church as it might stand on donated land in Middle Village. Photo courtesy Bob Holden
TimesLedger Newspapers

A Maspeth church needs a prayer for salvation.

St. Saviour’s Church, a historic building saved from the wrecking ball in 2008 with its parts now in storage, needs to find a new temporary home before it finds a permanent one. Galasso Trucking, a Maspeth company that has stored the church since it was dismantled more than three years ago, is asking for its space back.

Juniper Park Civic Association President Bob Holden was one of the community members who led the charge to save the church, but now he is waiting for the money that is tied up in Albany to move St. Saviour’s — either rebuilt or in pieces — to a donated swath of land at All Faith’s Cemetery in Middle Village.

In 2008, Holden received grants totaling $150,000 from state Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and then-state Sen. Serphin Maltese, but the approval process has proved difficult as the state has yet to release those funds, due to the myriad budget issues that have plagued the state since the building was dismantled in 2008

Holden said the fate of St. Saviour’s hinges on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has the power to direct the funds to the project to save the church.

“We have the land and we have the grants — we just need the cash,” said Holden, who also heads Save St. Saviour’s Inc., an organization that receives donations for the nearly two-century-old church. “That money could go a long way in helping us relieve this problem, but Cuomo will not release it.”

Cuomo’s office did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Clearing the donated land, moving the church from the Galasso property and storing it at the new site would cost close to $70,000, according to Holden.

“The state government has stopped everything from flowing,” said Holden, who also said Galasso Trucking has been extremely gracious throughout this entire process.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) took on the task of trying to expedite the state’s approval and financial allocation process, but has hit many of the same barriers as his predecessor Maltese.

Addabbo did say, however, that they money is still there.

“It’s really unfortunate that the money is still sitting waiting to be put to use,” he said. “Sometimes money that’s supposed to go to our communities ends up as part of a political game.”

St. Saviour’s Church was built in 1847 in the Carpenter Gothic style by renowned architect Richard Upjohn, who also designed Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan.

“If we lose this building, we lose a big part of the history of Queens,” Holden said. “After everything we went through saving it from the wrecking ball, losing it now would be nothing short of tragic. And I hope that the governor moves the process along and releases the funds we need.”

Holden said anyone interested in donating to Save St. Saviour’s Inc. should call 718-651-5865 for information.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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