LOSS: 1530 W. Touhy Avenue House Demolished by St. George Cathedral Despite Community Rejection of Parking Lot Proposal

1530 W. Touhy Avenue, built circa 1905 and demolished in 2024. Adjacent to St. George Cathedral. Photo credit: Zillow

“A Rogers Park church demolished a single-family home this week after neighbors rallied to reject the congregation’s proposal to replace the house with a parking lot.

“St. George’s Cathedral, also known as Mar Gewargis Cathedral, demolished the house at 1530 W. Touhy Ave. Tuesday following failed efforts to expand its parking lot onto the neighboring property. The parking lot proposal was denied, but the church has moved forward with demolishing the house, a move that surprised and angered some neighbors.

“A new plan for the lot post-demolition has not yet been submitted, according to Ald. Maria Hadden’s (49th) office. The Assyrian Church of the East, one of the earliest denominations of Christianity that is headquartered at St. George’s, did not respond to a request for comment.

“The church is a hub for the Chicago area’s large Assyrian population, drawing sizable crowds for weekend services and straining parking availability in the neighborhood.

“To alleviate some of those parking issues, St. George’s in September sought a zoning change for the home it owns so it could be replaced with a parking lot. That effort was blocked by Hadden following a wave of community backlash, with some neighbors saying replacing a home with a black top was not the best use of the land.

“The church did not need special approval to demolish the home. It received a wrecking permit March 15, city records show.

“On Tuesday morning, residents awoke to see a 6-foot-high green fence around the home’s property line as crews prepared to knock down the building. Neighbors strolled by to gawk. The home, which had sat vacant in recent years and is believed by neighbors to have been built in 1905, was largely demolished by Tuesday night.

“‘We don’t know why the church did it yet,’ resident Eric Brooks said. ‘But it shows a real lack of respect and engagement with the community.’

“The church tried twice to get permission to expand its parking lot onto the home’s lot, according to neighbors. The latest effort was soundly rejected by Rogers Park residents, with some citing environmental and ethical concerns over replacing a 120-year-old home with a large parking lot that might only be used a few days of the week.

“While there are no official plans drawn out yet for the freshly bulldozed lot, tensions are rising on the quiet Rogers Park block. Neighbors said they are frustrated with the church’s lack of transparency. (Thrush, Block Club Chicago, 3/28/24)

Read the full story at Block Club Chicago

 

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