Despite projected costs that church officials acknowledge would put repair of the wind-damaged structure beyond their reach, the parish is launching a fund-raising campaign to do just that. An 8-foot by 20-foot sign promoting the Save Our Steeple campaign should be in place on the side of the church facing I-75 this week.
Kevin Piotrowski, parish council president, said the outpouring of concern from people across the region who want to save the iconic 112-year-old piece of Detroit’s skyline convinced church officials to try to raise money to save the structure . . .
Church officials will be given two cost estimates by contractors in the coming days — one to rebuild the steeple and the second to remove it and cap the bell tower, where the steeple sits. Piotrowski said similar projects at other churches — where a steeple was rebuilt — have cost between $750,000 and $1 million, which is more than the parish of 850 families can afford.
According to the parish website, the church is named after St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, a Greek Catholic priest who was appointed archbishop of Polotsk, Poland, in 1617 before being martyred and later canonized. The late Victorian Romanesque-style church has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982 and also has state and city historic designations.
Kohn noted that the interior of the church, aside from the steeple, appears to be in good shape, including the extensive stained glass . . .
“That steeple is really a beacon for the Catholic faith of Detroit, and Detroit is a city of great faith and has a long history of Catholicism,” Piotrowski said.