THE SIDEWALK VAULT

We’ve run the same bulletin article about the situation with our sidewalk vault throughout the holidays so that we could give an opportunity to share the information with the many visitors who come to St. Jean’s over Christmas and New Years. When we did a similar notice regarding the upgrade of the sound system last year we received an unsolicited gift of $25,000 from a generous person visiting from Colorado. That was half the cost of the project. Our vault project has begun the same way. To date we’ve received $186,000 in donations. A big, big thank you to all of you who took the initiative to reach out to help.

We presently have only two bids on the project. They range from $449,500 to $507,780. The three additional companies we’ve asked to bid have not gotten back to us. So we’ve reached out to the Archdiocesen finance office for assistance. They’ll be gathering at least two more bids for us. We were also assured, that once we have half the funds needed for the project in hand, we would be eligible for a loan at 5% interest from the Archdiocese for the remainder. We hope that we won’t have to borrow, but at least we’re encouraged that we have the possibility to complete the project this year.

The photo is a shot of the vault’s ceiling. At the left of the photo you can see an exposed steel support beam and the deteriorated cement ceiling. The photo on the upper left shows a portion of the wall at the entrance of the vault area.

Because the condition of the vault continues to deteriorate, it would be wise that we take the bull by the horns and address the issue before it develops into an emergency. We don’t want to risk a possible collapse of the sidewalk. The six-month construction timeline we’re hoping to follow would begin in late March or April. The goal is to complete the reconstruction in September or October before the cold weather arrives.

HERE ARE TWO GOALS

The first goal is to raise $64,000 over the next two months, February and March. We would then be able to give the go-ahead for replacing the sidewalk vault. At the same time we could have all the paper work completed for a potential loan from the Archdiocese.

There remains approximately $150,000 in outstanding pledges from our recent RENEW AND REBUILD CAMPAIGN. Though the commitment was to pay the pledge over a five-year period, perhaps some donors would be willing and able to advance the fulfillment of their pledges. This would be a great boost to our present challenge. However, these pledges, even if they come in slowly over the next three years, will go directly to the reduction of any debt to the Archdiocese incurred by this capital improvement.

The second goal is to raise $250,000 by December 31st, 2019. This is a great challenge. Several suggestions have been made on strategies to meet the goal. One was to add a second collection that would be dedicated solely to chipping away at the remainder of the debt. However, a good number of second collections are already mandated by the archdiocese. Slightly more than half of the collections would remain with the parish. Benefit dinners and concerts were also suggested for fundraisers. These would raise some money. The problem with these types of fund-raisers is the high overhead. Our thinking is that a direct donation is the most efficient method of helping a cause. Donors know that 100% of their gift will go toward meeting the goal.

This photo is taken from the mid-point of the vault looking west. It shows the walls and ceiling quite clearly. The oil tank can be seen at the end of the vault. Originally this was the church’s coal bin.

We wish that we could report an anonymous gift of $500,000, but that would be as likely as declaring that we’ve just won the New York Lottery. Realistically, we have to rely on the generosity of parishioners and caring visitors. Please consider a donation to complete our first goal of raising $64,000 by the end of February. Checks can be made out to St. Jean Baptiste. Just note that it’s for the Vault Project.

Thank you so very much for your support of St. Jean’s. We have a wonderful parish. It’s growing and getting stronger month by month. Let’s pray for each other, and for the continued success of our ministry.