St. Cecilia Church Awarded Historic Preservation GrantsBy Anne Hersh
St. Cecilia Church, a renowned landmark of East Harlem’s historic El Barrio district, has been awarded two grants by The New York Landmarks Conservancy (NYLC) totaling $80,000 and an additional grant for $200,000 from New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The funds will be applied to architectural and construction costs for a copper standing seam roof and related masonry. The project is estimated to cost $1 million (Phase I). Window frame and additional masonry work will follow. The NYLC awards consist of a $50,000 Upper Manhattan EZ Grant, and $30,000 Robert W. Wilson Grant pledged by the Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Program.
“The New York Landmarks Conservancy had been invaluable in providing guidance for St. Cecilia’s restoration. Combined with the generous state funding, we’re making wonderful progress with our fundraising drive,” noted Father Peter Mushi, who was assigned to the parish in 2009. The NY Archdiocese recently appointed Arthur John Sikula Associates, specialists in the design and restoration of sacred spaces, as architect for the project. The existing asphalt shingle roof is in urgent need of replacement and the grants enable a historically appropriate restoration with a metal roof. In addition, the parish held a series of fundraising events in 2010, including an alumni reunion, a dance and several concerts.