St. Bridget of Kildare parish has changed its plan to buy the Meramec Valley History Museum building, citing maintenance expenses in the parish.
Pacific officials said they were surprised to learn recently that St. Bridget’s planned to back out on its intention to purchase the former Wolf residence, 203 W. Union, according to City Administrator Harold Selby.
Speaking at the Aug. 7 board meeting, Selby told aldermen that he had received a telephone call from St. Louis Archdiocese’s real estate office saying the new pastor of St. Bridget’s did not want to buy the residence and adjoining lots.
“For Father John (Keenoy), it was his passion to make the early childhood education program bigger,” Selby said. “He (Father John) kept saying ‘We don’t have the money, can the city give us more time?’ And we did. Our goal was to keep St. Bridget a part of Pacific.”
There is a need for a new air-conditioning system at the church and other maintenance costs in the parish.
Selby said he told the Archdiocese that St. Bridget parishioners had been in favor of the purchase and had raised funds for in hopes of it alleviating crowding at their school.
“We’ll have to put the house back on the market,” he said.
Mayor Herb Adams said he’s in no hurry to put the house back on the market. He said if members of the parish want to voice their opinions about the purchase of the building, he wants to give them an opportunity to do so.
“I’d like to give this some time to see what the parishioners think,” he said.
Adams said when he spoke of selling the museum building and buying the former Hoven residence at 113 E. Osage for a visitor center and museum, he had one goal in mind.
“My goal was to help St. Bridget expand their school,” he said. “St. Bridget is such a valuable part of our downtown history, as a city we need to do whatever we can to support the parish.”
The mayor said he does not think it’s in the best interest of the city to immediately put the house back on the market.
“It’s my hope that we can get this back on track. We understand the need for our future. It would be a mistake for any of us to give up the possibility of them (St. Bridget) owning that piece of property,” Adams said. “We don’t want to be in the future looking back and seeing St. Bridget School out of Pacific. I’d like to give this some time.”