Silence is all that's left behind in the many vacant church buildings throughout the Capital Region. There's been a growing clamor though to find a use for the empty, yet significant space. Innae Park has more.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Over the years, formerly religious buildings in the Capital Region are being given new identities, including a fraternity house and a custom apparel company.
Overit is the latest tenant of a church. St. Teresa of Avila in Albany closed two years ago.
The media group's CEO and President said their new home suits Overit's unique nature. “Me and my wife Michelle, we have a fascination with architecture, we were looking at different types of buildings, firehouses, other churches,” said Daniel Dinsmore. “We just loved the building. We fell in love with it.”
This marketing agency also has a message of its own. Dinsmore said, “We hope this creates an openness to the usage of these types of buildings.”
For New York Assemblyman John McEneny, Saint Teresa has woven itself into his life. He explained, “I was married here, three out of the four kids were baptized here. I was on the school board here, a lot of memories, great and small, but they're all very precious.”
McEneny’s elated that he and others don't have to say goodbye to those memories just yet. “These buildings are the repositories of memories that mean so much to the fabric of a community,” he said. “To see this creative use of a very valued part of our neighborhood is very heartening.”
More than $500,000 was invested in the project.
However, not every project to repurpose a church is as popular. In Albany, Ravens Head Brewery is proposing to convert St. Joseph's Church into a brewpub. Residents have been opposed to that. St. Patrick's in Watervliet is another vacant church being debated for alternate use.