Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fr. Chuck's Column, August 20, 2017

By the time you read this, the demolition of the former McDonald’s restaurant to the south of our St. Austin Catholic School will probably have begun. With the able leadership of the Chair of the St. Austin School Advisory Board, Mr. Ted Smith, and with the support of the Chancellor of the Diocese of Austin, Deacon Ron Walker, and the assistance of The Drenner Group law firm, we successfully concluded our negotiations with White Lodging, the developer of the old McDonald’s site. It will become a large Marriott Hotel.
Our settlement with them included a six-figure sum for a licensing agreement with them, basically giving permission to remove a tree that is half on our property and half on theirs, and permission for a retention system for a below-grade wall for their garage that will have rods extending below our property. They are building a 250 car garage three and a half stories below ground.
And we are in receipt of these funds!
There is an additional six-figure amount placed in escrow to be used to compensate us for costs we may occur (such as need for additional cleaning) due to their construction.
While it was not what we originally requested, it is a fair settlement. It is the opinion of the School Advisory Board, and mine, that when it is all said and done, the Marriott Hotel will be a positive addition to our neighborhood. It is getting there that is the grief.
Meanwhile, the renovation of our church and rectory continues. The stone is almost complete on the church, and work has shifted to the front of the rectory. The other three sides of the church/rectory have been cleaned (don’t they look great!), patched, and then sealed. They are basically complete.
Work continues in the front half of the first floor of the rectory, where the nursery is located. The rest of the space there has been opened up to provide another meeting space for our active ministries.
You may notice that the sides of our towers are white and blue. This is NOT their final form. Metal panels are going in there. However, we had our panels manufactured with another, larger, order in order to save money. But then that order got delayed. Our panels have now arrived and are in storage. Because of the delay, we moved the scaffolding (which is expensive to rent) on to the rectory to work there. Once the scaffolding is out of the way, we will be able to bring in a boom truck (not a truck with a loud boom box, but a truck with a long arm or “boom”) and install the panels that way. So just be patient, and we will see the metal panels in autumn. I think they will make a striking difference in the exterior appearance of the church.
And as stone comes off the rectory, there should be some more for parishioners to take. Watch the base of the pecan tree next to the gym.

Hope you will join us at the Holiday Fair next weekend!

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