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Cardinal Dolan Announces $175 Million Facelift To St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan announces a $175 million facelift to St. Patrick's Cathedral on Saturday, March 17, 2012 (credit: WCBS 880)

Cardinal Timothy Dolan announces a $175 million facelift to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday, March 17, 2012 (credit: WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Timothy Cardinal Dolan announced on this Saint Patrick’s Day a sprawling project to restore the historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Surrounded by dignitaries, many wearing green hard hats, Dolan listed several problems of the landmark.

“The bricks are crumbling and falling. The renowned windows are rattling and splitting. The heat, the air and the plumbing is old. The outside as you see is crusted with grit. And the roof is leaking,” he said.

Dolan said roughly $45 million has already been raised for phase one of the project, which will restore the exterior of the church, and revealed a section of stone that had been cleaned to show what the final result would look like.

Nearly $125 million must still be raised for phase two, which would complete the entire renovation, inside and out.

“It’s comprehensive. We’re touching about every surface that’s here. It’s really an essential project if the Cathedral is going to move into the future,” architect Jeffrey Murphy said.

“The heritage of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to New York is absolutely essential. The idea of letting it fall into disrepair is unthinkable,” said Francis  Brennan of Kenmare, Ireland.

Several thousand people attended Saturday’s traditional Saint Patrick’s Day Mass and told CBS 2′s Mark Morgan that the restoration is both vital and long overdue.

“Just from where we were sitting and stuff, I could see it was in need of repair. The pews needed repair, the floors, so it was visible,” said Tara Seagriff of Staten Island.

“Yes I do think you have to maintain it,” Renee Neubelt of the Upper East Side. “And it’s a wonderful historic structure.”

Donning a red hard hat, Dolan took a jab at his own elevation to Cardinal.

“This hat’s going to cost me a lot more than the one in Rome did,” he joked.

Phase one of the project is expected to begin on April 1 and last about two years.

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