The Christ Church Parish House.
The Rev. David Lowery is pastor of Christ Episcopal Church, incorporating, possibly, the most distinctive structures in Manhasset. Built in 1930 to be a satellite school for the Manhasset School District at a time Manhasset was growing tremendously, it was, Lowery said, unfortunately, never used as such for during the depression the town's growth stabilized. Located at 1355 Northern Boulevard, the church's capacity is 200 and the nearby parish house is 22,400 square feet. Following WW II the town enjoyed tremendous growth again and Munsey Park Elementary School was built. Lowery noted, "Since 1947 we have been trying to figure out what to do with the building."
That decision has now been made-to sell it. Lowery said Christ Church has 300 parishioners, and the responsibility of the upkeep is too great. The heating bill alone is $40,000 a year. In 1999 a study was done and at that time it would have cost $5 million to bring the Parish House up to code. Lowery said he would like to sell to nonprofits, that the area is zoned for residential and that he has been approached by a company that builds senior housing.
Rev. Lowery approached the town to see if there was interest in acquiring the building and town supervisor Jon Kaiman said they "would be interested and willing to look into it to see what is best for the community and is within their means." He added if the town receives a permit for development of the site there would be an opportunity for a public meeting. Kaiman commented it is too soon for any immediate goal, at this stage they can gather information, hold public meetings and inform the public as to what they have learned. Kaiman said it was understood it was a major project to buy, rehabilitate and maintain the buildings.
Enter the Manhasset Arts and Cultural Center anxious for quarters for the arts in Manhasset and wistfully eyeing the parish house. To accomplish their goal they need to attract major donors who share their dream. Ida Corvino Miletich, a driving force behind the project, has met with supervisor Kaiman "to present the case for the preservation/purchase of the Christ Church Parish House and the establishment of the Manhasset Arts and Cultural Center on the premises." At present, among its accomplishments, Miletich's group is applying for 501-C status, has retained George Frooks as attorney, and has five board members.
The timing is not compatible as the Rev. Lowery would like to sell as soon as possible and the proponents of the arts center have much to accomplish before realizing their dream. Anyone requiring more information can call Ida Miletich at 708-1537.