BUFFALO, N.Y. -- “I have to live with a big nothing,” said North Buffalo resident Margaret Nowak. “I'm very upset."
It’s a sad sight for Nowak, who has lived across from the church on Colvin and Tacoma Avenues for decades. She’s seen it in its heyday, and hoped it would be saved until she saw the back part had been demolished Friday.
“Now a contractor's really going to be interested in this very valuable property, when they could have been making lots of money rehabbing this place," said Nowak.
The city issued the demolition permit Friday, and says the owners met the criteria and city officials couldn't deny the permit. However, the Preservation board was moving quickly to designate the site as a landmark and feels the opportunity was pulled out from under the group.
"To have the city do everything to grease the skids for this thing to come down, certainly it is disappointing that the administration has such callous disregard for our historic heritage," said preservationist Tim Tielman.
Police say a fire was set at the building last spring and caused extensive damage to the church, which had been vacant for years. Mark Paradowski lives in Williamsville but grew up near the church and is upset with the decision.
"The owners however have apparently elected to just take the insurance money and take it down instead of repairing it, and there have been other interested parties in the place," said Paradowski.
Meanwhile, there is still an opportunity for preservationists to file a lawsuit to stop further demolition.
"We'll consider every option we have, because although part of this building is lost, we definitely have to try to figure out how to stop this from happening,” said Tielman.
YNN Reached out to the attorney for the Korean United Methodist church who owns the property but our calls were not returned.