THREATENED: Neighbors Prefer Preservation of St. Ignatius Over Loyola’s Plan for Demolition and New Construction

“In a recent town hall in the 49th Ward, Alderwoman Maria Hadden updated community members on the future of the closed St. Ignatius church located at 6559 N Glenwood Avenue in Rogers Park. The church was built in 1917 and designed by noted architect Henry J. Schlacks. Schlacks notably started his career in the offices of Adler & Sullivan before starting his own practice.

“Parishioners from the former St. Ignatius have been working on a plan to save the church since the initial discernment process began in 2019. The current intent is to have the rectory serve as an Ignatian Mission Center. The mission center would then be leveraged as a resource center for community members. A feasibility study will soon be launched into some of the possible uses including operating an ongoing Food Pantry, offering a Community Gathering space, and Community Counseling and Immigrant and Refugee Services.

“During the town hall, ideas for the property site were shared by community members. While not exhaustive, the suggestions included landmarking the church, along with the rectory and Waldorf school building. Some suggested pursuing adaptive reuse of the Waldorf site as a performing arts center, while others still suggested converting or removing the current structures for housing. (Ricketts, Chicago YIMBY, 8/20/22)

“The St. Ignatius campus, which includes the church, rectory and Waldorf School, is set to go on the market soon. The Ignatian Mission Center, a group of former parishioners and residents, has said it would like to maintain the church and use it to provide religious, social and educational programs to the surrounding community.

“Matt McDermott, a spokesperson for Loyola, said in a statement the university has had conversations recently with the archdiocese, Hadden and the Ignatian Mission Center about purchasing the school building and said the university plans to continue these conversations in the coming weeks.

“Hadden said she held the town hall meeting to give the community updates on the site as she said there has been a lot of speculation about what the university was or wasn’t doing in regards to the building. Hadden explained that if Loyola were to go ahead with the plan to build new student housing at the site it would require aldermanic approval for a change in zoning — something she has not yet committed to.

“Justin Shady, a Rogers Park resident of seven years, has been one of the main residents speaking out against Loyola possibly purchasing the building. He has hung up fliers in the area which read ‘STOP LOYOLA LOTS’ and has sought to garner further community opposition.

“‘I can’t in good faith let them tear down two giant buildings for nothing,’ Shady said. ‘If they want to tear them down and build something for the community or actually physically do something with them then great. But their track record is such that they tear things down, they fence them off, and they do nothing with them.”

“Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago, a non-profit devoted to preserving historic architecture in the city, joined the meeting to advocate for the St. Ignatius campus to receive a Chicago Historic Landmark designation. This would prevent the buildings from being demolished and he said would benefit the community.

“‘These buildings are already ‘small L landmarks’ in our communities, and they are cornerstones of our communities,’ Miller said. ‘They provide more than just worship services, they provide community services, they are food pantries, they are childcare centers and they are counseling centers.” (Krueger, The Loyola Phoenix, 8/24/22)

Read the full story at The Loyola Phoenix

Loyola Expresses Interest in Building New Dorms on St. Ignatius Campus Prompting Pushback From Residents, St. Ignatius was a Catholic church founded by the Jesuit order in 1907 which has historical ties to the university, Griffin Krueger, The Loyola Phoenix, 8/24/22

Talks Continue On The Future Of Former St Ignatius Church In Rogers Park, Bee Ricketts, Chicago YIMBY, 8/20/22

Loyola University Might Turn Part Of Closed St. Ignatius Church Campus Into Dorms, But Neighbors Are Wary; Neighbors attended a meeting to discuss potential reuses of the recently closed St. Ignatius, which could include turning it into a resource center or housing for Loyola students, Kayleigh Padar, Block Club Chicago, 8/11/22

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