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State official calls for landmarking of endangered century-old Brooklyn church

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Assemblywoman Latrice Walker wants to save the church from demolition and see it converted into a cultural center

Just when we thought the fight was over, more efforts are being made to preserve the century-old Our Lady of Loreto church in Brownsville from its impending demolition.

State Assemblywoman Latrice Walker has drafted a petition that urges for the abandoned church to be emergency designated as a city landmark, reports the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, while calling for Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens to withdraw its demolition application that was filed back in June.

Walker is advocating for the church to be repurposed into a community cultural center. "Let’s invest in the people in this community as well as its infrastructure," she said in a message to Catholic officials during a press conference. However, Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, the bishop of Brooklyn, called the church a "source of blight for the Brownsville community" while Alfred LoPinto of Catholic Charities said that there was "no viable use" for the current structure.

The group advocating to preserve the church and spare the site from its looming future as low-income housing argues that the building is a testament to both the history of Italian-Americans in Brooklyn and to the history of Brownsville itself.

The church has gone unused since 2009. Back in 2010, it was spared demolition when preservationists worked out a deal with the Brooklyn diocese, who wanted to tear it down and build affordable housing, to keep the church and build the housing units on nearby land. They agreed to convert the church into a community center and even issued a request for proposals for the space, but that didn’t bring in any applicants.

And so the fate of Our Lady of Loreto remains undetermined. As of Wednesday, the petition has garnered more than 400 out of its goal of 1,000 signatures.