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DeKalb plans to buy St. Henry’s Church

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DEKALB JUNCTION — The town of DeKalb wants to buy St. Henry’s Catholic Church, 27 Gibbons St., for a library and other community activities.

“We want to provide more opportunities in the town and this is a good way to do it,” Supervisor Larry D. Denesha said.

St. Henry’s parish merged with Canton’s St. Mary’s Church about eight years ago. After the merger, the Diocese of Ogdensburg changed the status of St. Henry’s Church from a parish to an oratory, which means the building could still be used as a house of prayer but no longer would be used for regular Sunday Masses.

St. Mary’s offered the church to the town for $10,500.

“We said unanimously we would be foolish not to purchase it,” Mr. Denesha said.

St. Mary’s is interested in selling buildings that are not being used in order to spend less on utilities, insurance and maintenance, the Rev. Douglas J. Lucia said.

“We’re trying to downsize our properties and put our money into programming,” he said.

The town extended a purchase offer, which must be approved by state Supreme Court.

The town has been considering how to create a library in partnership with the Richville Library, since a survey on ways to revitalize the community showed great interest in it, Mr. Denesha said.

“There really wasn’t any place that was appropriate,” he said. “St. Henry’s would fit the bill for the library. There was the potential for so many things.”

The town hall is cramped, so the town might use some of the space for town functions. The church – which is within walking distance of a complex for senior citizens — also could be a place for performances.

“It’ll be a benefit to everybody,” Mr. Denesha said.

He said the building is in good shape, although some roof work may be needed. The church has requested the stained-glass windows, so the town will replace those if the sale goes through.

Johnson Newspapers writer Susan Mende contributed to this report.

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