New Parish Center Project Goes To City Council Monday, Oct 26th

We need your help!
For many years our parish leadership has discussed the need to replace our parish center. It was originally built about 60 years ago as a convent for the nuns who served our parish and taught at our school. It was converted for our use as parish offices and a gathering place about 40 years ago. Unfortunately, it is no longer functional for our needs, it is not energy efficient, and it cannot be cost-effectively maintained, remodeled or updated.

After surveying and interviewing ministry leaders, staff, clergy and volunteers our parish center project team identified several specific functions we believed were important in a new parish center:

• The new building must be more efficient and larger than our existing building.
• The new building must have space for our parish offices, a gathering space, banquet and meeting space, a kitchen and the St. Vincent DePaul food pantry.
• It would be ideal if the new building also had enough space for a small chapel which could be used for daily Masses and small funerals. This would allow us to save on energy costs as we would only need to heat or cool the larger church on the weekends.
• And most importantly, the new building must have a direct physical connection to the church, allowing for safe and convenient movement of people.

We believe our best option is to construct the new building in front of the church on the 7th Street cul-de-sac. This idea was presented after all of the weekend Masses on July 17th and 18th and included in the subsequent church bulletin. We also presented this idea to the neighbors and believe we have addressed all of their major concerns that were previously expressed.

It is important to note that our parish has not yet fully committed to this project. Before we can begin construction we still need to complete several steps, including design plans and an estimate of construction costs, and a study to determine if we can raise the required funds, followed by a successful fundraising campaign.

But before we can take those next steps, we need the Pekin City Council’s approval – and this is where you can help!

The City of Pekin’s Planning Commission recently approved our plans and forwarded our project on to the City Council. We need the Council’s approval of our plans and we need the Council to give St. Joseph Church the cul-de sac and adjacent city property where the building will be constructed.

We know your input on this project is extremely important to the council members. They want to hear from you. Council members have voted on other projects and issues in the past based on input from voters. We need to make our voices heard.

Due to pandemic attendance restrictions we do not believe you’ll be able to provide your input in person at the City Council meeting. But there are still several other ways to make your voice heard. You can contact the Mayor and City Council Members by phone, letter, email, or in person. We’ve provided their contact information below, along with a sample letter that you can use or customize.

Our project will come before the City Council on October 26th, so it is important that you contact all of them immediately. Also, please ask your friends, family members and other parishioners to contact the council members. There is strength in numbers.

Thank you in advance for your help. We also ask that you pray for our continued success on this project.

St. Joseph Parish Center Team
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111 S. Capitol, Pekin, IL 61554
Mark Luft, Mayor, (309) 264-5517,
John Abel, Council Member, (309) 202-9565,
Michael Garrison, Council Member, (309) 303-6900,
Rick Hilst, Council Member, (309) 840-4730,
Karen Hohimer, Council Member,
Dave Nutter, Council Member, (309) 642-7519,
Lloyd Orrick, Council Member, (309) 620-4335,
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John Abel, City Council Member
City of Pekin
111 S. Capitol
Pekin, IL 61554

Council Member Abel,
I respectfully ask for your support of the St. Joseph parish center project. This new parish center will replace our building that is no longer functional or energy efficient, nor can it be cost- effectively maintained, remodeled or updated.

After a failed proposal last year, Mayor Luft encouraged the church to rework our plan and find a compromise with the neighbors. I believe the cul-de-sac and adjoining property to the east is the best site for our new parish center. In recent discussions with the mayor, city staff and neighbors, the new site received favorable feedback.

I believe the City should partner with the church and vacate the 7th Street cul-de-sac and convey it and the adjoining city lot to St. Joseph’s Church. This will benefit the church, the neighbors and the City.

I believe this proposal demonstrates the church’s willingness to listen to and act on the neighbors’ major concerns:

• No through street will be closed
• The storm water detention pond will be buried
• The new building will be located where it does not encroach into the neighborhood

Again, I respectfully ask you to vote to approve the St. Joseph project, including the cul-de-sac vacation and property conveyance. Thank you.

John & Jane Doe
1234 Main Street
Pekin, IL