LANDMARK CHURCH GETS FUNDRAISER

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By Dan Rivoli

The century-old West Park Presbyterian Church will benefit from a June 23 fundraiser to renovate its crumbling façade.

The expensive restoration project was one of the reasons Rev. Robert Brashear opposed historic preservation, arguing that landmark regulations would make it difficult to work with a developer to fund such repairs. Now, his goal is to get his congregation back into the West 86th Street church, at Amsterdam Avenue.

“It is our intention to reestablish our own congregation in our own building,” Brashear said. “We are looking for compatible nonprofit partners. Something that involves education and/or the arts.”

Council Member Gale Brewer, who was the target of protests from church members and congregants, kicked
in $1,000.

The money raised will go to the New York Landmarks Conservancy, which set up a special account for West Park as part of its Sacred Sites program.

Brashear called the fundraiser a good first step.

“There has to be an overall strategic plan that has a timeline and targets to establish how we move forward,”
he said.

With the money, the Landmarks Conservancy, a nonprofit that gives grants and assistance to owners for rehabilitating historic property, will provide an up-to-date assessment of the building’s exterior, identify and prioritize specific problems and figure out the price tag.

“It’s a beautiful church and it has a lot of needs,” said Peg Breen, president of the conservancy. “I hope we can start addressing them.”

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