Community center project for church building moves forward

Ozaukee Press Staff

Plans to make St. Mary’s Church in Little Kohler a private community center took another step closer to reality last week when  the Fredonia Town Board approved a certified survey map to divide the church from the cemetery behind it.

A group of former parishioners hope to buy the St. Mary’s Chapel, subdivide it from the cemetery and operate it as a historical and community center.

The cemetery has its own perpetual maintenance fund and would remain part of the Milwaukee Archdiocese. The chapel is currently part of Divine Savior Parish. 

The survey map presented to the Town Board outlined the widening of an access road off Highway H to 20 feet  into the cemetery and around the church, a change the town Plan Commission had requested. The Plan Commission had recommended approval of the site plan.

Variances were granted previously to allow a setback on the north side of the church to be 16 feet from the cemetery, less than the 25 feet required under the town zoning code. In addition, variances were granted for the former rectory, which is empty, and an out building both of which also violate setback rules.

The proposed property division still requires approval from the Archdiocese. Members of the group are negotiating with the Archdiocese to purchase the church building and property.

The combined church and cemetery properties total about two acres. The church, rectory, its side yards and a parking lot take up about half that.

If the group is successful in buying the church, it could not be used for any Catholic rites such as Masses, baptisms, funerals or weddings. Other religious ceremonies could be performed there. Catholic burial rites will still be performed in the cemetery.

The only Mass celebrated at the church currently is on Memorial Day.




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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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