Factions butt heads over fate of St. John's church

The fight over what to do with a decaying historic Jersey City church has preservationists and the Diocese of Newark butting heads.

St. John?s Episcopal Church is an architectural work of art and dates back to 1871. Its Gothic design, triple archway and finials make it unmistakable. Its beauty, however, is compromised by holes in the roof and other problems. According to the diocese, the property and building pose a danger and the church should be torn down.

Preservationists are actively trying to get the church declared a historical landmark, which would prevent demolition.

The diocese says it would cost $25 million to make St. John's usable again, but supporters of the building say it would take much less. They say the cost of tearing it down would be much greater.The Jersey City Planning Board is expected to vote Tuesday night on whether to recommend St. John's be given landmark status. Then it is up to City Council.

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