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Olean church plots moves to make facility accessible to all parishioners

OLEAN – St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church is completing work to make the church more accessible to all parishioners.

“I have had many parishioners come up to me and say that they have never been in our cafeteria, in the basement,” St. Mary’s business manager Joseph McLarney said.

“What we are planning to do would offer the ability for these members of our church to use the newly renovated Congregation Hall.”

In remodeling work already completed at the church, the old cafeteria for Southern Tier Catholic Elementary School has been converted into a fellowship hall, with less of a food-service feel.

Southern Tier Catholic moved to the Archbishop Walsh campus in 2009.

The old school building is now used by community groups, including Boy Scout Troop 617 as well as a dance school.

One proposed project is the construction of a 500-square-foot addition including an elevator for the disabled, according to McLarney.

The addition will be constructed of the same stone as the rest of the church.

A parapet on top of the addition will house the elevator machinery.

The three-floor elevator will access church offices, the new congregation hall and the sanctuary.

Future plans include a driveway loop, including 20 to 25 parking spots for the disabled, that would exit onto South Union Street, which would be accessible to the elevator.

A public hearing on the plan is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 14 during the next meeting of the Olean Planning Board in the Council Chambers at the Olean Municipal Building.