SHERWOOD — It's a church-government success story.
Three years ago, city officials in Sherwood were placing what were seen as burdensome requirements on St. Francis Parish as it was trying to build a new school gymnasium. Mandates included high fees for tree loss and low prices for private land demanded for public use.
After negotiations, the obstacles came down. St. Francis has a new gym that hosts a busy Catholic Youth Organization schedule, creating connections between Sherwood and people all over the Portland area. The city got enough land to widen a road and the parish was satisfied with the money it received for the parcel.
"We are happy with the resolution," says Andrew Rice, an accountant and school parent who led negotiations. "The city became very supportive."
Pledges for the gym were so generous that the school had enough left over to build a new library and media center. Borders book store donated shelves, desks and chairs.
Meanwhile, a parishioner donated seven portable bleachers for sports fans.
The school, begin in 2004, now has almost 200 students, an increase from previous years.
"It has been a blessing to have the new gym and watch all the students, parishioners, CYO and others use the new gym," says Rice. "Considering the current weather, we are fortunate to have the gym for indoor recess and sports classes."
Plans call for Archbishop John Vlazny to bless the new gym and library June 17.