And so Fall River continues to allow the destruction of our history. The utter foolishness of tearing down a beautiful church on the historic register to replace it with a, no doubt vinyl and cement, history museum, is ridiculous beyond words. Does Espirito even have any kind of realistic plan for building a new structure after they tear the church down?
On 11/4/2003, the Roman Catholic Diocese granted 440 Bradford Avenue to Espirito Santo Museum Foundation Inc., c/o Fernando Garcia, for $1.00.
The deed to the property contains a reverter clause that transfers the property back to the Diocese "if the premises cease to be used as a museum within five years from the date hereof (2003), title of the premises shall revert to the grantor" OR "if the premises ceased to be used as a museum at any time, title to the premises shall revert to the grantor." Clearly 5 years have passed and there is no museum on the site.
On 3/24/2009, Bishop Coleman gave his approval to Espirito to raze the church and that is a shame. His approval was premised on the belief that Espirito had a study done which determined the church was unsuitable to house a museum. There was no mention anywhere of the building being structurally unsound in 2003 when Espirito was granted the property. Did Espirito let the church fall into a state of disrepair so that they may now tear down the historic building?
Of further curiosity is the fact that Espirito Santo Museum Foundation didn't have enough money to pay taxes on the church property: How is it that an organization which recently had a city lien placed on the property for owing nearly $11,000 in 2008 taxes, is economically capable of building a new structure? I doubt they can.
In the end I am afraid the city will have an empty lot where a beautiful, historic building once stood.