Successful campaign means work on Port Washington landmark could begin as early as this summer
Just two months after being launched, officials at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Port Washington have announced that a drive to replace the slate roof atop the historic church has all but reached its goal.
The roof-replacement campaign has raised more than $520,000 in donations and pledges for a project expected to cost $550,000.
Parish spokesman Jim Kitzinger made the triumphant announcement Sunday at the start of Mass in the landmark church.
Kitzinger called the strong community reaction to the roof appeal “a smashing success.”
He said the money came from 250 parish families, as well as non-parishioners, businesses and foundations.
A substantial gift for the project came from the Simplicity Foundation.
Kitzinger said officials are still optimistic that the roof campaign will ultimately reach the goal of gaining support from 300 families, with the full $550,000 pledged.
With virtually all of the needed money in hand, Kitzinger said the church must now petition the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to proceed with the roof work.
If things go as expected, he said the roof replacement should begin this summer and be completed sometime this fall.
“This is a great achievement, one I never doubted, but one I never stopped praying for,” Kitzinger said.
The existing slate roof has been in place for 135 years without undergoing significant structural repair. However, it is starting to show signs of failure from weather, erosion and wear.
The need for a replacement has reached the critical stage to avoid sustaining substantial structural and plaster damage.
The new slate roof is expected to protect the building for at least 100 years.
The iconic church was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
Although elated that the roof work can proceed, Kitzinger said the project “is but one step in rebuilding our physical structures to meet the needs of our new parish.”
The three Catholic churches in the Port Washington-Saukville cluster will merge into a single parish, St. John XXIII, on July 1.