Bishop Joseph Charron has approved a recommendation by the All Saints Parish Council that Project Restore's bid to purchase the former church building for $7,200 be accepted.
The City of Stuart had requested that the new owner of the building comply with city regulations by the latter part of August. However, Attorney Warren Varley said he had written to city officials, on behalf of Project Restore, requesting that the city suspend enforcement of their rules until after the next council meeting when the group plans to make a presentation regarding their informational meetings are also planned.
The Project Restore group is proposing to rehabilitate the building over a three-year span, while allowing for immediate use of the facility through the restoration of the north chapel by the end of 1999.
The group also plans a major local and "alumni" fundraising effort to raise the necessary matching funds to apply for a variety of grants.
Project Restore is proposing that the building be used as a community cultural center and as an Institute of Religion and Peace. Possible functions to be held at the rehabilitated building might include receptions, reunions, concert, conferences and community gatherings.
Project Restore members have indicated that the facility could become an attraction for major statewide and regional events, resulting in a favorable economic impact on Stuart by drawing people off the interstate who would spend money on food, motels, retail items and the like.
The church was set on fire by an arsonist in August 1995.