Churubusco resident gets proactive with Immaculate Heart of Mary Church
Feb. 25—CHURUBUSCO — Churubusco Heritage Preservation member Bob Alden took common-sense steps last summer to mitigate conditions at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
"It's been closed for so long," he said.
"The Diocese and church in Ellenburg had really never taken care of the church since it's been closed. It's been closed for a total of 12 years. So, all the floors were warped. It's got a dirt-floor cellar, so that meant everything was sealed up and all the floors warped. There was a lot of mold in the basement."
DRYING IT OUT
Alden took it upon himself to see the Rev. Tojo Chacko, HGN, pastor at St. Edmund's to gain access to the closed church to dry out the cellar.
"And, we did," Bob said.
"I put all screens on the windows and left the cellar door open with a wire door on it. Throughout this summer, the mold really dried up completely. Of course, the floors won't go back down."
TRYING TO SAVE IT
Bob and his wife, Alice, were approached by sisters Chris and Frances Todoruk to join the group.
Originally from New Jersey, the Aldens purchased their Churubusco property in 1972.
"We really want to try to keep it as a piece of Churubusco because the church is built so much different than any of the other churches," Bob said.
"We've asked the Town to buy it and just help maintain it until we get on our feet. There are a lot of grants out there that will help us. The Clinton County Historical Society will help us. So, that's what we're really trying to do. We're trying to save it."
"We only want the Town to help us until we start getting the grants. That's really what this is really all about. It's much easier to get grants through the government if a town owns the building instead of a private individual. It feels like we sometimes we're beating our heads against the wall."
'OF COURSE IT NEEDS HELP'
The Aldens were away for 19 years to take care of Alice's mother, and when they returned, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church had closed.
"It's in such good shape," Bob said
"Of course it needs help inside because it was never maintained. From the time the church was closed, the Diocese never took care of it. They only mowed the lawn. Then after five years, I believe, after it's been closed for five years, then they don't have to maintain it at all.
"So, they didn't take care of the windows, rotted wood or anything. So, it just sat there. It really needs help. You look at so many towns, and the old churches are just a pile of rubble. and when you come into Churubusco, that's the thing that you see right there is the church."
The Diocese of Ogdensburg declined to discuss the state of the church or its future.