Fri January 4, 2013
Demolition of damaged North Buffalo church to proceed
A North Buffalo landmark will soon be just a memory. The city is not going to prevent the demolition of a fire-damaged former church.
A fire in April caused nearly a quarter-million dollars in damage to the former North Park Baptist Church and later Temple Emanu-El at Colvin and Tacoma Avenues. Mayor Byron Brown says it's a beautiful facility and he would love to see the church saved.
"Over the years, the city has asked a number of developers to look at the church. No one has come forward with a project. The owner hasn't come forward with a project," Brown said.
While Preservationists could sue to save the church, Brown says the owner can not afford repairs and all the proper legal steps have been taken to demolish the building before it collapses on adjacent property, which he calls a major concern and liability issue.
"They have notified us of that. The owner of the church has contacted the city's department of permit and inspections through its attorney. So there is potential to be sued the other way if the demolition permit is not granted as the law allows for it to be granted," Brown said.
The Preservation Board could block demolition by designating the old church a city landmark, but that process would take several weeks.
UPDATE: The Buffalo News reported Friday the city has issued a demolition permit for the property. City spokesman Mike DeGeorge told the paper demolition could begin any time.