[This vacant house at 13 N. Prairie St. is one of two to be razed to make way for an expansion of the Eastside Community Center parking lot. The spire of the former Holy Cross Church, which is part of the Batavia Park District facility, is visible in the background to the left.]
The park district purchased Holy Cross Catholic Church and its school building in 1995, when the parish moved to a new location on Main Street west of Randall Road.
The limestone Gothic church building was dedicated in 1896. After making renovations, the park district rededicated the building as Shannon Hall in 1996. The park district rents out Shannon Hall for large events such as weddings on average three times a month, Eby said.
The house at 27 N. Prairie St., which had been used by the church for office space and a residence for nuns, was acquired by the park district along with the rest of the Holy Cross property in 1995, Eby said, while 13 N. Prairie was purchased from a private owner in 2000.
For many years, the park district used 27 N. Prairie as a teen center, but programming for teens has changed, Eby said, and the center closed several years ago, leaving the house vacant.
The house at 13 N. Prairie St. was purchased with the ultimate aim of tearing it down, Eby said. It was converted into two apartments, and the park district housed a staff member there for a time, but that building now has been empty for more than two years, Eby said.
The Historic Preservation Commission granted approval for razing the two houses Dec. 11. Commission members said activities at the community center serve the public good and justify the demolition.