Bellevue selling street to Catholic church

Church will use the land to add a parish center and expand Marquette High School.

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Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:00 am

The city of Bellevue will sell part of a street to a local church.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church and Marquette schools will purchase Fifth Street between Franklin and Park streets as part of an expansion project.

The final public hearing on the matter was held last week.

Construction will include adding a parish center, connecting all campus buildings besides the church and adding to the existing high school. The parish also will tear down the 1930 St. Joseph's Middle School building for 75 new parking spaces.

The new parish center will be located on Fifth Street between the new St. Joseph's Elementary building and Marquette Education Center. The parish center will serve as a multipurpose room.

The street will be sold for $20,000 and could be purchased as soon as mid-August.

The Rev. Phillip Kruse, of St. Joseph Parish and pastoral coordinator of Marquette Catholic Schools, said it's too early to talk about details or design of the project, but purchase of the street was the first hurdle.

"It's a great first step," Kruse said.

Although project specifics haven't been decided, one feature is set.

"We're going to have parking," Kruse said. "People have to park blocks away and walk; there's no parking here. That will help us and the school; it's a win-win situation for us."

The street has been vacated, but it remains public property and has not been blocked off.

"It's officially closed as a public street," City Administrator Loras Herrig said. "People can have access to it until we turn the deed over."

Once the sale is finalized, the street will become a private drive and it's up to the parish when to close it to vehicular traffic.

Herrig said one public comment was made in the clerk's office, but no one commented in writing or at the hearing last week against sale of the street.

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