LACONIA — Bishop Peter Libasci of Diocese of Manchester has received a letter from City Manager Scott Myers seeking information about plans to raze St. Joseph Church, but hasn’t yet responded to it, a diocese spokesman said Tuesday.
Spokesman Thomas Bebbington said the letter, sent Friday, was in a stack of mail the bishop was reviewing Tuesday.
There has been broad local opposition to destroying the circa-1929 church and the City Council ordered Myers to send the bishop a letter.
The letter asks how much it would cost to demolish the church.
City Councilor Bruce Cheney said Monday night he would favor a plan for the city to purchase the church for the cost of demolition.
Libasci has said the church, the rectory and a school building will be included in a sale, but first the church would be demolished. He didn’t disclose the name of the buyer or intended use of the property.
The letter asks for the agreed-upon sales price, the name of the buyer, the intended use and whether there is an opportunity for another interested party to match the offer and save the church.
“While we understand that the consolidation of parishes and campuses has been publicly known for some time, the news that St. Joseph’s Church was to be razed as a part of the sale caught many residents by surprise,” Myers wrote.
“Part of the challenge that community leaders and residents alike are having is that there are many unknowns about what happens next with the limited information that has been made available by the diocese. It is impossible to form an opinion or have a comprehensive conversation on how this impacts Laconia while only knowing that the property is to be sold and the church is to be demolished.”