Saturday, December 20, 2014

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Demolition halted at Bethlehem Steel

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Buffalo: Demolition halted at Bethlehem Steel
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A judge has temporarily stopped demolition at the Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna. It's been an ongoing issue with the owner of the building, the city and preservationists. YNN's Katie Cummings reports from Lackawanna on the court ruling and why Campaign for Greater Buffalo is fighting to save the building.

LACKAWANNA, N.Y. — The battle to save Bethlehem Steel continues.

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo asked for a temporary restraining order against the building owner, Gateway Trade Inc., and the city of Lackawanna. On Thursday a judge granted the request, halting demolition temporarily.

The group claims procedures were not followed properly.

"Nothing at all was done. We’ve explored the record in this case and there was never any environmental review whatsoever," said Richard Berger, Attorney, Campaign for Greater Buffalo.

A study by a Syracuse-based architectural firm over the summer showed the building is sound despite its poor appearance.

While Gateway owns the building, the group says the city is just as responsible.

"The government is responsible for reviewing that application for a permit and to determine whether it's going to have adverse environmental consequences," Berger said.

Meanwhile, the city of Lackawanna attorney, Norman LeBlanc Jr., says the city doesn’t have money to put into the building and would rather something is done with the building than nothing.

"I don’t know what this is going to accomplish except yet another delay that serves no useful purpose. I believe ultimately this building is coming down," said LeBlanc.

Berger claims though that this legal fight is necessary.

"To take a little time to review whether everything was done legally, I don’t see that’s that's such an imposition," Berger said.

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo says it’s trying to preserve the building for the citizens of Lackawanna.

"This building is of such significance and people in Lackawanna have expressed such an interest in it that it's well worth going to the utmost extent to see if this building can be saved," said Tim Tielman, Exec. Dir, Campaign for Greater Buffalo.

Tielman says it may take time to find someone to rehabilitate the property but it's important to act now.

"This may take 20 years but we got to start. You got to start with the building. If you don’t have it, it's gone forever," Tielman said.

YNN reached out to Gateway Trade but our calls have not yet been returned.

A hearing is scheduled next Wednesday morning in State Supreme Court. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP