The Former North Baptist Church demo.

A Sad Day for Buffalo: Demolition of the Former North Baptist Church on Colvin/Tacoma in Buffalo, NY.

Another one is gone!

Another church is being demolished in the Queen City. This one was special, it graced a strong neighborhood with stable property values. It lived in an area that could have supported a creative reuse project.

No longer does this neighborhood have this historic gem to provide quality community space, jobs and cultural events. What is sad is, this one isn’t caving in like others still standing across the city. This one is stable, it is strong and reusable. Yet, it gets demolished because the owner neglected it’s property and the City gave in. Surprise!The owner was given a golden demolition ticket from the City of Buffalo, despite the fact that it qualifies to be a local landmark.

Buffalo was built when craftsmanship and detail was at an all time high in our county and in result, we have a building stock that is unlike any other. A cornucopia of building types built inspired by several styles.  This building is like a lot of them that are demolished… it’s built with three rows of brick, artisan detail in the woodwork from a profession that is no longer alive… arched windows that are no longer economically feasible to recreate and wood trusts that are made from old growth trees – a resource we have very little of these days. The buildings were built to last hundreds of years. They were built with pride, love and by ones who paid incredible attention to detail… something that we can no longer afford to built new today.

But this issue goes beyond the building. This church spent 100 years providing light and strength to families.  People married inside there. They celebrated, grieved and loved inside this structure. This was a community asset. Even the lawn gave back – it was a popular spot to play football for the neighborhood children.

So what’s next?

I hate to ask this simple question but – what is the plan?

Unfortunately, until Buffalo’s new construction market strengthens, we cannot afford to build new. With every structure demolished, we will struggle to find another use for the land and will remain vacant for years to come.

Will this become a dollar general? A neighborhood park? Will the owner neglect the land like they did the church? Will neighbors rally to create a historic district to protect another loss like this?

I often wonder if people who want this demolition realize that this now vacant lot will now reduce their property values. I wonder if they even ask themselves about the lack of city code enforcement or that if a new owner  had been found, a new rehab (raising property values and overall spirit!) would be happening in the neighborhood instead of the creation of a new vacant lot.

You have to ask yourself – What do you want to come of this lot? How can you avoid loosing assets like this in the future? What can we demand the owner to do? How can we repurpose this lot and make it a community asset?

My friends, demolition is not the answer. Let’s be creative, expect more and think outside of the box a little bit.

The Former North Baptist Church demo.

The Former North Baptist Church demo.

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