Merrick residents protest church expansion

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MERRICK -

Residents are expressing concern after a Greek Orthodox Church in Merrick announced plans to expand in a residential area.

St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, located on Hewlett Avenue in Merrick, recently announced plans to construct a 25,000-square-foot cultural center. 

"I think the quality of our life is going to be destroyed," said John Fitzgerald, a homeowner in the area.  

The church owns eight homes that surround its property. Plans call for the homes to be torn down in order to make space for the building.

Father Nikiforas Fakimos, pastor at St. Demetrios, says the church's cultural center is an appropriate size and is desperately needed. He says religious education classes are being held in one of the homes that they own. There are only four classrooms, but Father Fakimos says they need 12.

"We are now able to move our sports programs directly next to the church, which is where they belong, and we will be able to have a proper classroom facility," he says. 

The Town Of Hempstead Zoning Board will consider the church's plans at its next meeting on June 1 at 9 a.m.

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