Evanston aldermen gave half a loaf Monday night to leaders of St. Mary’s Church, who’d sought to overturn a Preservation Commission degree that they restore the clay tile roof on the parish center building originally constructed as a convent.

The aldermen agreed to side with the preservationists regarding the roof of the main convent building that faces Lake Street, but agreed to let the church replace the roof of the chapel extension at the rear of the building with a fiberglass shingle designed to resemble the clay tiles.

An image from the manufacturer of the GAF Monaco Venetian Coral shingles to be used on the chapel roof.

The church had originally proposed to replace the leaky roof of the former convent at 1012 Lake St. with grey fiberglass shingles that would match those used on the main church building.

Doing it that way would have cost an estimated $91,700, while repairing the entire roof using clay tiles was expected to cost $205,000. Switching to the fiberglass shingles on the chapel portion of the building is expected to reduce the cost of the total project to $153,000.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, voted against the compromise, chiding the church officials that her church, only a block away from St. Mary’s had done fundraising to make repairs to its building.

But Alderman Don Wilson, whose 4th Ward includes St. Mary’s, said he thought the mixed approach was “not an unreasonable compromise” and that the city’s insistance on clay tile was putting the church in a difficult position.

Wilson’s motion carried 5-2, with only Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, joining Wynne in opposition to it.

Related stories

Council seeks compromise on church roof (4/12/16)

‘Preservation’ to double church roof cost (4/9/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. So ten years from now
    St. Mary’s has been given a reprieve. 10 years from now, when the clay tile roof is sound, but that fiberglass roof is failing, St. Mary’s should replace it with a clay tile roof. They should start fund-raising, today.

    1. st. mary’s roof repairs
      For the record, St. Mary parishioners did raise $100,000 to repair the roof. The preservation committee never seems to see the forest for the trees. They would rather see a building fall into disrepair, than deal with the fact that their demands create major financial obstacles for most Evanstonians, whether they are private citizens or non-profits. St. Mary recently celebrated 150 years of faith and service, this extra $90,000 will impact our ability to help our neighbors who are hungry, cold, sick, the list is endless. St. Mary Parish not only serves all of Evanston, regardless of race or creed, but our reach extends throughout the world. The city council, Melissa Wynne in particular, should chide itself for failing to hold the “City” to the same standards they demand of their residents.

      1. Purpose of a church vrs. other buildings
        Churches are suppose to be there for worship and helping those in need. When government or preservationist want them to preserve some “beauty” [the activist’s] show they don’t understand why the church is there–instead I guess they have some humanist vision of what religion is and that it is alright to spend all the money to foster that beauty.
        Many would argue that churches [and other religious buildings] already spend too much on splendor and not enough on the needs of the people and service. Preservationist want more spent on more splendor and supporting their views.

  2. Statement of Significance

    Why is this a Landmark? What does the "Statement of Significance" say?  Will this remove this property from Landmark Status? 

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