A plan for a one-story Cascia Center was unveiled last night to neighbors of the “peacemaking” facility proposed for Broad and Ellsworth, where the former St. Rita’s school was just demolished.
Officials from the neighboring St. Rita of Cascia Shrine, which would manage the center, told the South Broad Street Neighbors Association that they plan to build a 20-foot-high detached structure that would contain offices for counseling, meeting space and a large community room. Twenty parking spaces would go behind it, between the building and Carlisle Street.
Peter Zutter, president of the SBSNA, said the presentation was not well-received. “No problems with the type of uses, in fact quite good support for the concept, but the one story building of cheap materials did not go over well,” he said. “It is unfortunate that they did not talk to us sooner as it seems they have mostly completed design.”
Zutter said the officials said they wouldn’t be able to afford major changes to the design.
The site was still being cleared when we passed by it yesterday, but Fr. Joe Genito, pastor and director of the shrine, told us last month that he hoped the groundbreaking on the new building could happen in the spring.
The center will be nondenominational and reach out to the community to “offer solutions for peacemaking and conflict resolution,” Genito said.
He said the center would build on the work at the shrine, which honors St. Rita of Cascia, a peacemaker who was born in what is now Umbria, Italy in 1381. “She got hotheaded Italians to stop killing each other,” Genito said. “We want to use that symbol of St. Rita the peacemaker to reach out to a very violent city.”
The hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustments is Feb. 26 at 2 p.m.