Photo c/o Haldan Kirsch/Post-Gazette.
On Friday, August 2nd, community members gathered at Eastminster Church in East Liberty for the Saints Peter and Paul Church review meeting and celebration. The meeting was a culmination of a months-long planning process undertaken by ELDI in partnership with ULEAD and Partners for Sacred Places. It was a celebration of all the input gathered from the community so far and an opportunity for Partners for Sacred Places and ULEAD to share their findings and takeaways.
ULEAD strategist, Brigitte Bethea, presented the findings of her organization’s community outreach work, including the results of surveys given out at the Space Walk and Talk events and at the Arts Town Hall held at the church.
Preference for multi-use space & preservation
The surveys showed that the majority of people preferred a multi-use option for the space, with music and performance theater, event center, and community rec center noted as some of the preferred re-use options. The majority of those surveyed were area residents (Larimer, East Liberty, Highland Park), with some having direct history with the church through family members such as parents or grandparents. Bethea noted that enthusiasm was high for revisiting the church as renovations moved forward and that the majority surveyed were in favor of preserving the architectural integrity “as much as possible”, including the graffiti acquired since the church’s closing.
Moving forward, ULEAD recommended:
- installing exterior signage to raise awareness about the project in the community,
- exploring the creation and exhibition of youth art projects,
- and keeping the survey available to the public, among other things.
Partners for Sacred Places also shared their findings. As reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Joshua Castaño, director of commuity engagement, summed up the main takeaway:
“This is not just a building,” he said. “It’s not just square footage. It’s not just dollars per square foot. It is a place that holds a story. It holds many stories. And it is surrounded by stories, and it’s surrounded by communities. And those are all really important.”