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A word about this site: about twenty years earlier the Archdiocese bought ten acres at the northwest corner of Hamlin and John R. In its wisdom the diocese makes purchases in potential growth areas so that when a parish is eventually proposed, it has land that was relatively inexpensive; such was St. Mary's case. The site at the time of purchase was buildable by prevailing State law. However, the new wetland's laws made it unbuildable. This was learned, after careful study and testing, at Christmas time 1989; hence, the Lord's first Christmas gift to St. Mary's was adversity.
St. Mary's started looking for a new site within the Parish boundaries. There weren't many because a church in this area must now be built on a main thoroughfare. The search committee settled on John R. Nursery which became the new site for the parish. There were advantages: no toxic waste and a lot of trees, many of which were moved and later incorporated into the landscape design; and proximity to plenty of parishioners. On the matter of land, Fr. Strain was visited by a gentleman who owned ten acres east and contiguous to the site. He knew that the Archdiocese owned two small parcels of land on Livernois that were not needed for any new parish. He wanted a swap. His land was excellent: meadowland and woods to the north...and not wetlands. After some study the Cardinal approved the transaction and St. Mary of the Hills became the proud owner of a total of twenty prime acres. The original ten acres cost $50,000 an acre and the second parcel cost $17,000 an acre, making the average price per acre for land for the parish pretty good. Thank God for beautiful land!