Gale force winds destroy $35K Schenectady church sign

Emily Burkhard
Created: December 15, 2019 11:56 PM

SCHENECTADY - Father Richard Carlino was walking around St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church before 8 o'clock mass on Sunday morning when he noticed the parish's marble sign was in pieces on the sidewalk.

“Since the project has been done about a month I’m still in the honeymoon, I love to look at it,” Carlino said. “All of a sudden looked over to the right and I couldn’t believe my eyes I thought I was having a bad dream.”


Carlino said he initially had a feeling the damage was caused by the wind, but some parishioners were worried it could've been vandalism.

So Carlino contacted the Schenectady Police Department and they were able to check the traffic cameras on Union Street.

"They called me at 9:20 [a.m.], an hour later, saying the camera showed indeed it was the wind,” Carlino said. “I think around somewhere 2:00 to 2:30 this [Sunday] morning."

NewsChannel 13 meteorologist Reid Kisselback estimated wind speeds were around 47 miles per hour in Schenectady at that time.

Carlino said that doesn't exactly shock him.

"It’s one of the highest points of the city and it just catches wind all the time. So part of me was surprised and part of me not,” Carlino said.

The new sign cost about $35,000. It featured a 115 year old granite cross from when the church originally opened its doors.

The sign was the last phase of a $700,000 project to replace the stairs, railings, pavement and landscaping at the front of the church. A crew worked on the sign for about 18 months.

"So we certainly hope the whole thing can be rebuilt,” Carlino said.

Father Carlino said repairing or replacing the sign will likely become a legal matter.

"I believe this is going to be a matter that the people who put the monument there are going to have to deal with,” he said.

Carlino said he did not want to name the company that installed the sign for the church. He also said he is very grateful nobody was hurt by the falling sign.

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