Building demolition in Lilly causes controversy

Local News

LILLY, CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The old St. Brigid’s School is a landmark for many in the Lilly community.

“I’d see the nuns in their habits, sitting on the porch here at the convent. This is embedded in my brain,” Emil Campagna, parishioner at Our Lady of the Alleghenies, and Lilly resident, said.

When they heard that the parish, Our Lady of the Alleghenies, had been approved by the diocese to demolish the school, parishioners and residents, did not know why.

Residents tried petitioning against the destruction of the school just a week and a half ago. Now, demolition crews are starting to tear it all down, and folks say they just want answers.

“There are more questions from the whole incident than there are answers and that’s what people are very upset about,” Campagna said.

The pastor of the parish, Fr. Kevin Queally, shared the news about the project moving forward on facebook, saying folks were notified of the plans in january, giving them ample time to voice their concerns.

He wrote, in part, “I am familiar with the feelings of loss and sorrow that go with those kind of event. The decision was not made lightly and was not made in haste.”

But some residents disagree.

“As you can see the damage is done and…There’s not a lot that you can do but people are very, very disturbed by this whole incident,” Campagna said.

While demolition continues on the building, folks say they want to know one thing.

“That’s the question. Why tear it down?” Campagna asked.

Some argue more could’ve been done to save the building.

“Why..I don’t know for sure, but could they have applied for historic status and made a landmark, you know, that way the building could’ve stood there,” Campagna said.

We reached out multiple times for a comment from Fr. Quelly, but was told he was unavailable.

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