Resurrection’s Transformation Has Brought Unity to the Campus
By Beth Griffin Matthews
Parishioners, visitors, and passersby have witnessed a transformation of the nine-acre campus at Resurrection Parish over the past three years. Resurrection, the spiritual home for 2,200 local Catholic families, has renovated its Church Row space to improve safety, increase green space, demystify traffic flow and parking options, and create an attractive and unified site.
Resurrection pastor Monsignor Donald Dwyer said the changes are the fruit of a master plan developed in conjunction with “Renew and Rebuild”, a three-year capital campaign conducted by the Archdiocese of New York. “Through the generosity of Resurrection parishioners, we exceeded our $3 million goal,” he said.
Before embarking on the fundraising campaign, Msgr. Dwyer and the Resurrection Parish Council worked with Sullivan Architecture of White Plains to determine what needed to be done and the best way to accomplish it. An ambitious program was drawn and divided into phases that could be implemented as time and funds allowed. It began in 2017 with rebuilding the steps from the Boston Post Road to the church entrance and replacing the narrow, uneven passenger drop-off area of the driveway with a broad flat esplanade to safely accommodate both vehicles and worshippers. The driveway and steps were damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The major renovation entailed removing or relocating fencing, plantings, deteriorated structures, and a huge playground, and installing curbs and walkways throughout the campus. The traffic flow, which was a longtime mystery to parishioners and visitors alike, was smoothed by reducing the number of entrances and exits and clearly marking traffic direction and parking spaces.
Resurrection’s footprint has grown over 90 years to include the church, rectory, former convent (now office space), grammar and middle schools, and an additional residential structure. In 2013, Resurrection purchased the former Methodist church property that includes a church (now the Resurrection Chapel), parsonage, and parking lot. The chapel building is used for services and meetings and also houses the Resurrection Two-Year-Old program.
Although the physical needs of the Resurrection parish community changed since ground was broken for the church in 1927, this unifying master plan is the first in memory. Students and others attending services and programs are now able to move safely from place to place.
Sullivan project manager Chris Pelella said the biggest challenge to the three-part renovation was working in a limited time frame. “We had to keep the campus going while doing the work and also make sure each phase was finished by the beginning of the school year.”
Resurrection is a busy place. There are more than 300 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade in the grammar school, and 1,000 children from public and private schools attend religious instruction each week. In addition, the parish hosts the largest year-round Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) basketball program in the ten-county archdiocese, drawing 750 players from first grade through college.
To accommodate the many uses of the property and thoughtfully develop the open green spaces, the second and third parts of the renovation took place in this summer and last. In 2018, the Peter Kennedy Memorial Playground was rebuilt along Milton Road with help from IQ Landscape Architects and Landscape Structures. Msgr. Dwyer rededicated the contemporary fun space with great fanfare and enjoys seeing children enjoy the new set-up.
“Scores of families come there after Sunday Mass and we see kids of all denominations from Rye and other communities there seven days a week. They are most welcome.”
Msgr. Dwyer noted that the oldest parking lots on the Resurrection property were covered with “50 years of asphalt” and included historic bumps and potholes. The contractor removed the asphalt, added new sewers, and corrected contouring and drainage before adding landscaped islands and extensive striping.
Pelella said the asphalt was recycled at the site to save time, money, and material. Some of the parking area also features semi-permeable pavers.
Other green features of the renovation include increasing the open grassy space and planting more trees than were removed.
School parent Anita Davis, who has a background in urban planning and chairs the Resurrection Parish Council, said the renovation alleviated many safety concerns and eliminated the “guessing game” of where to park for various functions. “There may be some tweaking of the signage and we may add landscaping and lighting, but I am thrilled at how it turned out. It was accomplished with as little disruption as possible and we’re thankful that parishioners were so generous during the capital campaign,” she said.