APHS Response: Holy Spirit Church, Asbury Park NJ
The Asbury Park Historical Society was very relieved after hearing earlier this year, that Elizabeth Spurrier, the agent with O’Brien Realty, who listed Holy Spirit Church property, expressed that she was a “true historian.” Ms. Spurrier further elaborated that they (JDL Redevelopers, LLC) “listed the property knowing it would not be torn down.”
After a series of back-and-forth interactions with the City and Planning Board, the developers’ original design plans have changed with their latest outcome being it’s a lovely church but not worth preserving.
The Asbury Park Historical Society along with many in our community wholeheartedly believe that Holy Spirit Church is worth preserving. Although the current path is exploring the validity of a deed written by James Bradley which appears to restrict the use of the property as a church, my position as the President of the Asbury Park Historical Society is that developers who truly have an interest in preserving history, can find a way of respecting our historical structures while at the same time achieving their financial goals as a developer.
Although the church was founded in 1879, the ground was broken for the construction of Holy Spirit’s current granite structure, trimmed in limestone, in December 1909. If the Planning Board finds that they do not have actual grounds to deny you the right to tear down the Holy Spirit edifice, how about just doing the right thing to honor the spirit of the original deed transaction by Bradley.
How about considering a completely different property in Asbury Park to develop and allow another church group to acquire the church building as is. Or, how about going back to the drawing board to reconsider your vision while preserving the building.
Finally, to the public, above and beyond Holy Spirit Church, we, the APHS are very concerned about the potential of losing the next church building, the Convention Hall, Post Office, Bank building etc. As of next month (September), the APHS is inviting its members to attend our monthly meetings once again. We welcome members who are willing to work with us to pursue initiatives for preserving what is left of our important structures built a century or more ago.
Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at the Stephen Crane House 507 Fourth Ave. The Historical Society business meeting portion of the evenings will run from 6:30 to 7:30 with membership engagement and periodic programs from 7:30 to 8:30.