||Much of the debate over St. Frances Cabrini church appears to center on the architectural merits of the building. Louis Sullivan, the architect who drew up the plans for rebuilding much of Chicago after the Great Fire, said "form ever follows function." Whether or not you find the building pleasing aesthetically, the fact remains that it ceased to serve the needs of the parish long before Katrina. Having grown up in St. Frances Cabrini parish, I can attest to the fact that, even while the church was being built, a number of parishioners believed that the building was too big, too costly to build, and was destined to be too expensive to maintain. The leaky roof has been well-documented. The insurance proceeds alone cannot fix what is wrong with the building, and it is unrealistic to expect Holy Cross or the remaining parishioners to shoulder that burden. Why not use the insurance money to build a smaller church on the Holy Cross campus for the parish and the school to share? I understand the church's altar can be salvaged, and there must be other elements that could be incorporated into a new structure.
Schools are what draw people to a community. If anyone doubts that, then just look three miles to the west to Mt. Carmel Academy. That school, which educates over one thousand young women, has been a catalyst in Lakeview's rebuilding. I would ask you to consider the needs of the real stakeholders in this issue, the people who are trying the revitalize this neighborhood and the Holy Cross students and faculty. All of these people have been in limbo too long. They deserve the chance to rebuild.