Preservationist gather outside the Bethlehem Steel Building in Lackawanna.
The Bethlehem Steel Building in Lackawanna.
LACKAWANNA, N.Y. - One of the region's most unique buildings could have a date with a wrecking ball by week's end. Dozens of preservationists spent Sunday afternoon rallying support to stop it.
The Bethlehem Steel building has stood proudly along the Lackawanna waterfront for more than a century. Once of symbol of the region's industrial might, it is now a reminder of how those jobs have disappeared.
Dozens of local preservationists are fighting to save it from the wrecking ball, and time is running out.
"We can't keep on tearing down these symbols, these embodiments of our character," Preservationist Tim Tielman said.
Last spring the City of Lackawanna gave permission to the property owner, Gateway Trade Center, to demolish the building. Preservations fought it in court but the order delaying demolition expires this week.
Supports gathered at the site to rally the public to save the building. They included old steel workers who spent years toiling in the mill.
"You looked around this building and you were in awe because it was so well built versus the houses we lived in," former steelworker Doug Chapple said.
Dana Saylor, who represents a group called Buffalo's Young Preservationists, organized the rally.
REPORTER: Can you keep this building here like this if there's no market to put anything in it?
SAYLOR: Well, if there were no market, it would be very impossible in deed. However, we believe that's not the case. There have been numerous, adaptive re-use projects around the country very similar to this one in markets and places very similar to this one.
David Torke and Lesley Horowitz attended the rally to show their support. In fact, the couple is responsible for alerting the public to the fact the building was set to be demolished. The two found the notice on the building in May.
REPORTER: What if they can't find anyone who is interested in this particular building? What do we do with it?
HOROWITZ: Save it. Save it until they can find someone.
We left a message Sunday for Lackawanna's mayor about the demolition. We have not heard back from him yet. Recently, the city attorney has told us that city engineers have determined the building is not stable and should be torn down. Additionally, city leaders have told police and firefighters not to enter the structure, even for an emergency.