Clara Rivera, Mariano Rivera, and Noam

Clara Rivera, Mariano Rivera, and Noam

The former Presbyterian Church on North Avenue, just south of City Hall, is one of New Rochelle’s most prominent historic buildings, but having been abandoned for many years (and under the ownership of a City government that was hard-pressed to devote funds to maintenance), it had fallen into considerable disrepair.  With structural problems constituting a safety hazard and with no practical, cost-effective public use in sight, the City reluctantly considered demolishing the building as a regrettable last resort.

Then someone had a bright idea.  Why not rebuild the church . . . as a church?  And so it was that in June 2011, the City entered into an agreement with the Refugio de Esperanza “Refuge of Hope” church to rehabilitate the building and use it once again as a house of worship.  After three years of hard work, the church is now restored to its former luster.

Today, I had the great pleasure of joining Pastor Clara Rivera (plus her lesser-known husband, Mariano) at the ribbon-cutting and of saying a few words at the ceremony that followed.

Pastor Rivera and her church family have already made great contributions to the New Rochelle community through their involvement in charitable and not-for-profit organizations – and by rescuing a beautiful piece of our history.  I wish them every success in their new home.