Deacon Dave's Planning Committee Update July 2018

I am writing this on the last day of classes for our St. Helen Catholic School.  The excitement with the students has been contagious even though there is still much going on this summer. 

¨ We just welcomed 5 seminarians from our Diocese who will spend a month living and interacting with our parish.

¨ Alain Waterman, one of the seminarians, will be spending the entire summer and next academic year with St. Helen Parish as part of his pastoral year.

¨ We look forward to welcoming  Mrs. Lisa Bell, our new school principal, but regret that Ms. Silo will be relocating to New Jersey. 

¨ We will soon be adding new doors to the Parish Center for added security and to provide wheelchair accessibility.

¨ Improvements to the chapel in the Christian Living Center continue and should be completed within the next few months.

¨ We began our Centennial Year Celebration in mid June with a Pot Luck Dinner, which is just one of the many activities planned to celebrate and thank God for this historic event.

The intent of this article is to provide an update on the progress of the Planning Committee.  I encourage all parishioners to stay informed on an ongoing basis through our web site, the Church app, and the Church bulletin.  Additionally, you are welcome to call the Church office for any clarification, suggestions or questions.  During the last monthly meeting the Committee reviewed and took the following actions:

¨ Relocating the Outreach Ministry from the Christian Living Center:

       This was an objective of the committee in order to allow the school extra flexibility in using certain rooms in the CLC during the day.  One alternative was to move Outreach to the house we own at 2005 Tallahassee.  After review with an architect and builder it was clear that to bring that house up to the current building codes was cost prohibitive.  Another alternative has been to consider an offsite location.  Though several have been considered, to date no decision has been made.  Use of an offsite location would be temporary.

¨ Relocating the Religious Education Office:

       We are still attempting to relocate the three offices associated with Religious Education.  Offsite locations are being considered here, as well.  At present, a few locations are under consideration.

¨ Development of a Master Plan:

       The Planning Committee and Fr. Nelson approved engaging Greg Burke, a local architect and planner, to work with the parish on the development of a master plan.  Mr. Burke is approved by the Diocese and has extensive site planning experience.  His initial effort will entail a review of all of the current and anticipated needs of the parish as well as consideration of future requests.  In this endeavor he will be meeting with representatives of the staff, school and virtually all ministries.

¨ Building Use Approval through the City of Vero Beach:

       Our plans to seek conditional approval to use certain homes which we own on an interim basis are still being sought through the city.  Modifications to our request were made based upon the addition of the home on the corner of    DeLeon and SR60.  This home was not originally included since it was never our desire to change its use from residential.  Upon final conversations with the city, even without the change in use, it became clear that it was in our best interest to include it in the site plan submitted to the city.  This is the home in which the seminarians are currently residing. Our plan is to continue to use it for visiting and temporary clergy.

¨ Parish Survey:

In the presentation of the needs of the parish in the survey completed in early 2018, debt reduction, replacement of the roof in the parish center and improvement to the inside of the Church were considered.  Our debt is currently $170,000 and reducing by approximately $70,000 per year. The Parish Center roof still has one year remaining on the maintenance guarantee and will hopefully be satisfactory for a few years to come.  Improvements to the Church are continuing to be developed and considered and may be undertaken separate of the capital campaign. 


In summation of the above, the Planning Committee is attempting on a short term basis to accommodate the needs of the school for     added meeting and classroom space and on a longer term basis develop a building plan that will serve our parish well into our second hundred years.  The Committee is hopeful that the timely development of an overall site plan will provide for a capital campaign in the latter part of 2018.    Deacon Dave