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POLL: What Should Happen to St. Joe's?

With so much commotion over the fate of the church, we want to know what you have to say.

Lately, there's been quite the commotion over .

Over the past few years, Historic Salem Inc. (HSI) has lost appeals to save the church as plans have been developed to raze the structure to build affordable housing.

On Wednesday, The Salem News reported the nonprofit developer connected to the Archdiocese of Boston could be close to abandoning the project.

The outlet also reported several members of HSI opted to quit the board because of continuous appeals over the housing project.

On Thursday at 12:20 p.m., HSI reported it had suspended its appeal via the following press release:

"Historic Salem, Inc. officers have notified the Department of Housing and Urban Development that at this time, the organization is suspending its appeal of the St Joseph’s Church 106 process.

The organization has received indications that there is an opportunity to begin a constructive dialogue with all sides that can hopefully lead to a mutually agreed to resolution of this matter.

HSI’s mission is to ensure that the historic resources of Salem are preserved for future generations and that new development complements the historic character of the city.

For more information, contact Sandy Dickson at 978-744-4004."

At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, the City of Salem issued the following statement with the Planning Officer for Urban Affairs:

"'The redevelopment of St. Joseph’s has been a priority of mine for years,' stated Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. 'The project’s importance to the City and Point Neighborhood can not be overstated and I am pleased with HSI’s plans to curtail its appeal of the 106 process. I look forward to working with HSI and all interested parties to advance this critical project keeping in mind the need for affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization and historic preservation.'

'The Planning Office for Urban Affairs was also pleased to learn of HSI's announcement today and entirely agrees with Mayor Driscoll’s sentiments', said Lisa Alberghini, President of the Planning Office. 'We welcome the opportunity to have a constructive dialogue with HSI regarding our plan to redevelop the property, and look forward to working productively with HSI and other local stakeholders to move this development forward in order to accomplish our shared objectives for the City of Salem and the Point Neighborhood.'"

What do you think about the future of St. Joe's? Take our poll, and share your thoughts in the comments.

scott May 18, 2012 at 11:31 AM
I would like to keep the Rectory and use it for local millitary families to stay as a Inn Between during troubled times. You have already taken our housing (Rainbow Ter.) and sent us off to shelters out of town. That would be the Honorable thing to do. But!!
christine May 18, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Love Scotts comment
Jared Robinson May 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM
parking.
Bryan Karsis May 18, 2012 at 01:55 PM
I'd like to see a mixed-use project; artist's lofts and retail in the church and convent, a gallery in the rectory, and affordable housing in the school. And parking.
cyn2 May 18, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Scott is right. The military is a segment of the population which is underserved.
Misty May 18, 2012 at 09:41 PM
I'm not thrilled about affordable housing, but anything at all is better than a crackhead hangout- which is what it is now and has been for years. As long as someone does something with the property and is responsible for maintaining it, I'll be happy
Dianne Herlihy May 19, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Why can't it be St Joseph's church, again?
Joseph Kaye May 19, 2012 at 05:28 PM
a decent supermarket, like a whole foods
Bob May 19, 2012 at 06:15 PM
How about donating the property to Salem State University - I'd like to see Salem take on the characteristics of a true university town... What a great opportunity for classroom space, artists studios or administrative offices - or a lash-up with the Peabody Essex Museum... As a taxpayer & resident, I'm NOT in favor of any additional subsidized housing in that area.
Leese May 20, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Anything but affordable housing - especially in this neighborhood. Affordable housing has attracted undesirable elements from outside Salem - and keep in mind that most of the "other" apartment complexes in Salem, including those under development, also provide a number of affordable housing units. Salem needs a development that will bring a positive "uplift" to the neighborhood.
melas June 24, 2012 at 07:57 AM
Who really thinks The Point needs more residents and low-income residents at that? Salem already has it's fair share of poor / low income residents; It's going to become an unhealthy balance and this project could tip the scale. More traffic, more cars to park and let's face it, there is a proven correlation between poverty and crime. This is an opportunity to bring The Point up, but more affordable housing is just going to create a larger scale slum. Sorry, but it's true - Kimberly Driscoll's biggest mistake as mayor and Salem will suffer for generations. Who's going to want to buy a high end condo in Derby Lofts when The Point is expanding all around them. The long term goal should be to shrink The Point, not expand it.

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