The Bethlehem Steel Building in Lackawanna.
LACKAWANNA, NY - Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case has upheld a demolition order, clearing the way for the Bethlehem Steel North Administration Building to be razed.
Preservationists are left disappointed but "not surprised" with the judge's order which denied a stay of demolition, according to Dana Saylor, a local historian and member of the Buffalo Young Preservationists group.
Saylor and members of the Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group (LIHG) still delivered petitions to Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski on Tuesday afternoon , in hopes of convincing him that many are interested in saving the structure.
An event hosted by the group last Sunday called "I'm Steel Standing", drew nearly 100 local residents and former employees to the site, as part of push for an adaptive reuse similar to those undertaken in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which had been the headquarters of Bethlehem Steel until 1995.
Online and paper petitions have been circulated (with over 500 signatures gathered), a website has been built, which received over 2,000 visits in less than a week, a short film was made, and a whirlwind of media attention has been focused on the building, which is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to Saylor, LIHG seeks to build consensus, and has presented several adaptive reuse ideas, connected the owners (Gateway Industries) to historic tax credit specialists, and is willing to be the conduit to potential developers.
LIHG is calling on the City to relinquish its efforts to force demolition, and rather to pursue Certified Local Government status, which will open the doors for grant money and a meaningful dialogue about preservation's economic development benefits. LIHG asks Gateway Trade to issue a formal Request for Proposals, and properly board up the building in the meantime.