Wyandotte & Leavenworth

Views clash over demolition of St. John the Divine Church

Updated: 2013-09-14T03:28:26Z

Speakers were nearly evenly divided Friday on the question of whether the closed St. John the Divine Church in Kansas City, Kan., should be razed or preserved.

The public meeting was called to discuss alternatives to demolition, but several people said that’s what they wanted to see.

“We don’t need that building to have our heritage,” said Monica DeLeon. “We know where we come from, and that’s Argentine.”

The church at 2511 Metropolitan Ave. was closed in 1992, and the roof has partially collapsed. The neighborhood association wants it demolished, but it has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.

A nonprofit group that owns the structure wants to save it as part of the history of the Mexican-American experience. The group proposes to turn it into an art center.

“The St. John the Divine Community Art and Education Center will only enhance the quality of life for future generations,” Carolyn Ruiz said.

Of 17 people who spoke at the meeting at the Argentine Community Center, nine favored demolition and eight opposed it. The Unified Government has filed a demolition order for the building, but that is on hold pending a historical review.

| Matt Campbell, mcampbell@kcstar.com

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