A new Knights of Columbus lodge is on the rise again in the West End, more than a year after a fire ripped through the original building where the Monsignor Cass Council No. 2626 had operated since 1973.
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Last June, the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals granted the Knights approval to rebuild their West End headquarters, a new two-story building at the original site, 970 W. Beech St., after more than 200 people signed a petition in favor of the proposed building. The board trustees voted to expedite the application process immediately, rather than follow vote on it at the following monthly meeting.
“We we’re very happy that they voted for on our application last night,” Grand Knight Ron Browne told Patch at the time, “because they sooner we got approved, the sooner we can rebuild.”
But it wasn’t until September that the Knights received permits to start construction. Project Pay it Forward, a volunteer group that helped storm-damaged businesses rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, held a fundraiser for the Knights for the costs of construction.
Browne said that the organization originally expected to finishing rebuilding by the end of the 2013, but inclement weather delayed construction of the concrete foundation. With that task complete, the hope is to move into the new building by spring, according to the Long Beach Herald. Browne said:
“It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. We were determined to make sure it came together. [Giving up] wasn’t even an option.”
After Hurricane Sandy, the Knights turned their storm-damaged building into a relief center for the Long Beach community. They initially served coffee and three meals a day, but soon after the lodge served as a distribution center for clothing, toiletries and many other needs in the community following the storm.
In the wee hours of the morning on Dec. 12, 2012, a gas-related fire struck the lodge and ripped through and heavily damaged the building, including collapsing part of the roof. The building was later demolished, and the Knights held their monthly meetings at St. Ignatius Church on West Broadway.