Mark Ruffalo And Matt Damon Are Raising Money To Preserve NYC’s West Park Presbyterian Church

New York City’s West Park Presbyterian Church is yet another historic building that faces a fate that’s all too common: getting torn down and replaced with luxury condos. Luckily, Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo are teaming up to save the beloved landmark with their preservation efforts. In fact, Matt Damon will be starring in a stage production of This Is Our Youth to help raise funds to keep the building intact, according to CBN.

Developers assert that the 19th-century building’s repairs will cost more than simply leveling the building and replacing it with housing valued at $30 million. Don Friedmansug, a structural engineer, begs to differ, and estimates that repairs to the church’s exterior would cost less than $2 million. Mark Ruffalo and Matt Damon don’t deny that the building needs work, but feel that putting the necessary work in for the sake of preserving an iconic piece of New York City history is worth the expense.

Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo both hold the strong belief that the nonprofit theater inside of the church bears too much cultural significance to simply be torn down and replaced with more real estate. And they’re putting their money where their mouths are by helping raise funds alongside Debby Hirshman, the cultural centers’ executive director. On November 16, Damon will star in Kenneth Lonergan written play, This Is Our Youth, and the money earned from the ticket sales will be used to repair the West Park Presbyterian Church, hopefully saving it from being demolished.

Funnily enough, the 1998 production of This Is Our Youth starred Mark Ruffalo, and was one of his first notable stage performances when he was coming up as an actor.

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Tickets for the play will cost $500 on its opening night, and on the second night, tickets will cost $250. Mark Ruffalo, Matt Damon, and Hirshman hope to raise $300,000 for the church with the production, which will be instrumental in pushing forward with their preservation efforts.

In an interview with ABC News, Mark Ruffalo suggested that just because older buildings in New York City are surrounded by scaffolding, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re falling down and need to be replaced. Matt Damon also used to live just a block away from the Wast Park Presbyterian Church for a couple of years when he was younger, which explains why he’s so passionate about doing whatever he can to preserve the building.

Lonergan stated that Damon was immediately on board to star in the play, which just goes to show you that the Good Will Hunting star is ready to take the stage and raise some funds with his star-power and acting talent.

As developers continue to tear down iconic structures that are deemed to be beyond repair for the sake of building modern apartment buildings and luxury condos, it’s clear that preservationists aren’t willing to go down without a fight. Thanks to celebrities like Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo, and the tireless efforts of dozens of faithful church congregants and preservationists, the historical building can potentially be repaired, and remain culturally significant for years to come.

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