Salem Community Center for the Arts
We the undersigned support the idea of developing the building formerly known as St Mary’s Italian Church as a Salem Community Center for the Arts. The Salem Mission currently owns this property and has proposed developing the building as 20 housing units for its clients. We support the work the Salem Mission is doing by giving people opportunities to end their homelessness, but we believe that the development of this particular building as a Community Center can serve the Mission’s clients as well as the larger community. With the purchase and reuse of the building, the Salem Mission would have additional funds to work with to acquire housing for its clients that is both more affordable and more quickly available. Additionally, Mission clients would be afforded work and educational opportunities at the Community Center. The Community Center would preserve the interior and exterior architectural and artistic elements of the building. With the proceeds from the sale, the Mission can then have the flexibility to invest in additional programs and its housing opportunities, so the community and the Mission both win. This Center for the Arts can become its own community: a place where ideas, art, culture, performance, education, neighborhood and social service converge. It will allow residents, visitors and Mission clients to be engaged, entertained and educated by one another. All of us will be fuller by this exchange and by having such a facility in Salem.