Gloversville seeking bids, hopes to finish church demolition this year

Bids for the demolition of First Baptist Church will be opened Oct. 4 and city officials said they e

Bids for the demolition of First Baptist Church will be opened Oct. 4 and city officials said they expect work to start soon thereafter.

Department of Public Works Director Robert Abel said a pre-bid conference on the project will be conducted Sept. 22 for interested contractors.

Though the first formal advertising for bids began Tuesday, Abel said the city’s consultants on the project, C.T. Male Associates, have posted the bidding information on the firm’s website and have made direct contact with many prospective bidders.

Abel said the church, which was abandoned by its last congregation in 1998, must be removed by the end of the year.

City officials have often mentioned the value of materials that contractors could salvage, such as stained glass windows and woodwork, but Abel said much of the valuable material has been removed over the years.

He said he has stipulated as part of the bidding process that the city wants to keep the giant brass bell located in the steeple. Abel said it will not only serve as a relic from the 19th century church but will also make a fine addition to the lawn area of City Hall. It would look good, he said, mounted on the brick platform already in place on the front lawn.

City grant writer Nicholas Zabawsky said the city has about $415,000 available from a 2008 Restore New York grant awarded for the demolition. If the city can recruit a developer to build on the vacant lot, the grant provides an additional $100,000 to help finance the project, he said.

C.T. Male has estimated the project could cost about $750,000, but Zabawsky said the economic climate may drive that price down. “I’m optimistic we’ll get good bid prices,” he said.

However, he said, the removal of the church, located so close to valuable adjoining properties, makes it a particularly challenging demolition. That factor should also influence the bids, Zabawsky said.

The church was declared a dangerous building by the city in 2002.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation cleared the way for demolition when it ruled the historic building cannot be saved.

Though parts of the church, which has an adjoining school, were constructed in the mid-19th century, a 1920 fire destroyed the sanctuary and compromised its historic significance, officials have said.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply