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Ideas proposed for church set for demolition

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Buffalo: Ideas proposed for church set for demolition
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A North Buffalo church was damaged by fire last spring and now the owners want to demolish it. However, some city leaders think it could still be a viable part of the community. YNN's Katie Cummings has more on some of the ideas being proposed for the site.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Korean United Methodist Church at the corner of Colvin and Tacoma Avenues in Buffalo was badly damaged by a fire last April. The owners went to the City Preservation Board on Thursday, to ask for permission to demolish the building.

"There are portions of the exterior sections of the building that are prepared to fall away. They’ll be on the street on Colvin Avenue in particular and next to the homes that are adjacent to the building," said Rev. Thomas Clemow.

The pastor says at least three developers have expressed interest in the property.

"It would restore a tax exempt property to the tax rolls of the city of Buffalo. It would enable additional housing opportunities to be constructed on that corner," he said.

Meanwhile, Delaware district councilman Michael LoCurto is against the demolition, saying it would take away a part of the community.

"I think it would be better for the neighborhood to keep that kind of historic structure there than try to build some modern cookie cutter development that might not fit the character of the neighborhood," said LoCurto, (D).

LoCurto says he wants the building to be re-purposed in some way, possibly as apartments or businesses.

He says neighbors have complained about the property for years since it was vacant for more than four years before the fire.

"The neighbors were cutting the grass themselves because they were so frustrated by it and there was graffiti and people congregating in the back there."

The Preservation Board has filed a request for the property to be designated as a local landmark. The Board plans to visit the site next Tuesday to study the damage.

“I think by removing this building you are going to further deteriorate a good neighborhood so we full support any effort to save the church," said Paul McDonnell, Preservation Board Chairman. "One thing that we do not want is demolition.

To be designated as a landmark, it would have to go before the Common Council but LoCurto doesn’t expect that to come up till at least January.

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