YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There was a time when, on a nice, summer Saturday night, it was standing room only for Catholics at one of Fr. Richard Madden’s outdoor masses.
They were held at the Carmelite Monastery on Volney Road, which overlooks Mill Creek Park.
In the 1980s, Fr. Madden was dismissed from the Carmelite Order for disobedience but still held masses at the monastery. People went, especially when mass was held outside.
But, Fr. Madden died in 2012 and the property’s caretaker died last year, giving the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) control of the land and the house.
Now, the plan is to raise some money and fix it up.
YNDC plans to refurbish the outdoor area to use for community events and plans to renovate the entire house, which was built in 1927 by Emery McKelvey, of department store fame.
YNDC Executive Director Ian Beniston says at 7,000 square feet, it’s one of Youngstown’s largest homes.
“The first floor, we’re going to use for meetings. We’re going to call that the ‘Neighborhood Action Center,'” Beniston said.
The second and third floors, where most of the bedrooms have their own baths, will eventually become apartments.
Renovating the first floor will cost $85,000. The whole house will cost $200,000. So, Beniston is looking for money.
“We have a goal of raising $20,000 from individuals. We are raising funds in other ways, too, from foundations, other grants,” Beniston said.
“I was very elated because I known YNDC and I know their track record,” said Jim London, president of the Idora Neighborhood Association.
London said he’s glad another house in the area will be saved.
“So it’s not going to demise, it’s not going to get broken down and now we can pass it onto the next generation,” London said.
Beniston said there will be some substantial improvement at the house later this year. The first floor renovation will come first. Then, the architectural work for the second and third floors.
If you would like to donate to the project, visit YNDC’s website for more information.