Out of patience in Glove City

Friday, January 18, 2013
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It’s been almost two years since the owners of Gloversville’s 144-year-old Bleecker Square church stripped the historic building of its handsome stained-glass windows and steeple clock — after being expressly warned by the city’s Historic District Review Board not to do so.

The boarded-up building has become a target of vandals and is such an eyesore that it’s hindering downtown development, but the city is hesitant to sue lest the owner — which continues to pay taxes on the property — walks away and sticks the city with selling the building or having to demolish it. An understandable concern, but when is enough going to be considered enough?

Other than paying taxes (which is required because it never used the building for religious purposes), the Church of God of Prophecy has acted in bad faith from virtually Day One. Even after defying the city by removing the most historically significant elements of the building, it was given ample opportunity to make amends, either by putting the windows and clock back, or — after they’d been sold — replacing them with similar materials. It has failed to do so, and failed to market the building and maintain its exterior, both of which it promised to do.

Had it done so by Dec. 15 — six months after a deadline to complete the replacement of the windows and clock — the city would have considered forgiving all or part of a $60,000 court-imposed fine, but absolutely nothing has been done.

The city needs to take a tougher approach with the church, and soon. Better to inherit the building before it has passed the point of salvation, than afterward.

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January 18, 2013
7:45 p.m.
FrankLowe says...

And exactly why should the government have any say over the use of private property? If the incompetant control freaks who are in power in Gloversville are so smart, why didn't they take the money out of their own personal pockets and buy the building themselves? Probably because they're not smart enough to earn money honestly, so they get themselves "elected" and use the force of government power to bully others.

January 21, 2013
12:46 a.m.
diane says...

I do not understand your comments Frank Lowe. I have been following this situation for the past two years or more. This entity has been given every opportunity to correct a mistake that they made, by allowing someone to remove the windows and clock knowing they needed permission from the Historic Commission. Anyone that is involved in an Historic District knows there are rules and regulations and comply or go for a waiver. This business did not. Now it is impacting the appearance and therefore the survival of a business district and the growth of Gloversville. I am not a resident of the city, although my family was from there. I agree it is time to go after the church for violation of their agreement, maybe an article in their hometown newspapers, Nashville, Tn I think, will get their attention. Absentee landlords must do their part to keep up their property or we all pay in the long run.

January 21, 2013
1:55 p.m.
robbump says...

Didn't the (unknown) owners of the First Baptist Church on S Main in Gloversville just walk away from the building, leaving the expense of demolishing it to the taxpayers? Does struggling Gloversville need another repeat of that?

This isn't about controlling the remodeling of a piece of property, such as what color it's painted. It's about preventing it from turning into something of negative value that taxpayers must clean-up.

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