Where is the plan? That’s right, we don’t have one. (REPOST)

I am reposting this story  from about 2 years ago because this church is miraculously still around.  I came across a more recent image of the building on Facebook and it looks like some rudimentary work has actually been done to stabilize the building including patching the crumbling brick facade.  Does anyone know anything about this?  This is one that can really make a difference in rebuilding this battered neighborhood.  It can and should  be saved. 
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[update]
Interior images are used by permission of  the web site Views of Buffalo.  You can view many more church images at Views of Buffalo’s Impernity page here. By the way, Views of Buffalo is a must read for any Buffalo addict.
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This is the former EV Ref Salem’s Kirche built in 1907 located at 413 Sherman Street in Buffalo.  It has been vacant for years. It recently popped up in conversation on Buffalo Rising and on the Preservation Ready Facebook page. David Torke at Fix Buffalo has been writing about the plight of this wonderful little church for years.  I had wanted to write about it after I saw it on his blog but never got around to it.  That is the way the East Side is – we never get around to it. Torke even titles a recent story on the building “Salem Evangelical: In the hood and off the radar”.  He notes that when he first ventured into the open building he found it with all of its amazing detail including its beautiful stained glass intact. Today the brick walls are crumbling and water pours in wide holes in the roof.  It is a wreck now but still holds much of its beauty.  Its congregation moved out when they could no longer afford the heat.
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Salem is a beautifully proportioned small church on a pretty residential street.  Even though more than half the houses have been demolished the street’s mature tree canopy and human scale make this an inviting place to be. The diminutive size of this church would have made this an easy building to reuse if it had not been neglected for so long.  After years of unchecked deterioration it will now be a heavy lift to bring it back, most likely requiring public investment to return it to productive use.  This is a sad “could have been” story.  This church likely is going to the dump now. It is in the wrong neighborhood and the City of Buffalo has no plan at all to save architectural treasures like this and worse seems to not think it needs one.
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In the Buffalo Rising discussion on this building I offhandedly said that there are probably a dozen or so new plastic houses near this church.  I was referring to the cheaply built government subsidized houses that The City haphazardly scatters around emptied-out parts of the East and West Sides.  The houses are constructed using millions of tax dollars with seemingly no goal in mind and no goal ever attained.  Another commenter chimed in stating that in fact there were several of the plastic houses nearby.  The new houses are devoid of craft or creativity.  They don’t define a space or make for a memorable place.
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As they were building these banal plastic palaces this church was rotting away within eyesight.  What is the purpose of these forgettable houses? They are likely to be torn down themselves in the near future (driving around the East Side you will find many already boarded up).  Perhaps they make comfortable homes for some who would not have had one otherwise and I don’t intend to disparage the people who live in and own these new houses.  I just think that we could have had much better than this, benefitting more people for the same money if there was a smart and strategic investment plan in place.
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If there was a plan The City might have determined that we have to use its limited resources on saving something unique like this church and its street. With a plan they might have recognized the power of historical assets like this church.  If they had they would have saved a special place like this (and many others) that people would care about and invest in for the long-term.
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Imagine the type of creative intelligent people who might have taken a chance on this neighborhood for the right to live in this church, with its gorgeous windows and amazing alter mural.
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Imagine if the city had focused its attention on shoring up this pretty little tree-lined street, making it into a neighborhood people cared about.  Instead we get scatter-shot plastic houses plopped around in the worst sprawl-scape you can imagine with the added benefit of a rotting dangerous building.
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Its not that hard to make a plan with goals.  For my entire life the city and its suburbs have followed the same lame, do nothing, thoughtless path of sprawl and disinvestment.  How many decades does it take to recognize complete failure before you change your way of doing things?
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About the author  ⁄ STEEL

Architect ( a real one, not just the armchair type), author of "Buffalo, Architecture in the American Forgotten Land" ( www.blurb.com ), lover of great spaces, hater of sprawl and waste, advocate for a better way of doing things.

126 comments
paulbuffalo
paulbuffalo

BR, I hope your advertisers, both current and potential, take a good look at the management of your site.  You have allowed one person to post anti-semitic, racist and homophobic comments here since at least 2007.  Early on, you took the initiative to delete his most vile comments that glorified Hitler, insulted the African-American community, and revealed his sexual frustrations.  You also disabled him as a user when he surfaced again and again under a new name.

For a while, he was cautious and tempered his remarks.  He even pretended to be a woman to avoid detection.  However, at some point he realized that you just gave up moderating your site so he ramped up his comments to those like you see below.  He has littered this site like a minefield and readers are unable to avoid him.

Some readers engage him in an attempt to use reason as if logic will persuade him to act responsibly.  If he exhibited any sense of being anything other than mentally disturbed, I would congratulate them on the efforts.  This fellow needs help yet you facilitate his worst behaviors by allowing him a platform.

BR, I like your site but you have to take responsibility for being the vehicle in which someone is permitted to post sheer hate.  This is not mild stuff that merits a simple wag of the finger.  I know I wouldn't advertise here until you addressed such issues.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

re:

"What's the Plan? (for all the empty rotting churches)":

Well, I'm kind of glad there is no commitment from government for our tax dollars to do anything with churches. I don't see a bottom to the pit of dollars necessary to preserve them, and I see little prospect of future use in the event they are all preserved. Save some? Sure. Let private donations and private interests do that. Save all, particularly from public funds? For what purposes?

I do not miss all the dozens of demolished vaudevillian theaters we've lost. The few extant are enough for my tastes. so too with churches. What to do with them all?

Best comment I've read was a letter in the News calling for empty churches to become mausoleums. Brilliant re-use. Otherwise, I'm stumped as to what function they could economically perform. Re-use some? sure. the more the better. But for the rest? 

Pray tell, Steel: What's your proposed use for all of them?

fixBuffalo
fixBuffalo

There IS a plan.  413 Sherman is being saved.  It was purchased 2 years ago at the City's tax sale.  I've met with the new owner several times.  This former German Protestant church is now a Muslim Community Center serving an expanding (new) community on Sherman Street and the surrounding neighborhood.  Mosque members have purchased several homes on the street that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill.  

If anyone would like a tour please email me and I can arrange this with the new owner.  

davidtorkegmail.com

whateverr
whateverr

@paulbuffalo


think Paul's point about advertisers is the key factor above all others. If any really canceled and cited Christy as a reason, not just threatened but really cancelled, that might possibly change a blog's approach.

Still, actively moderating might be a more difficult thing than it seems.

If any popular blog's owner doesn't want to spend personal time doing that task day after day, week after week, and if ad revenues aren't enough to hire somebody to do it every day while paying a living wage with benefits/etc, then I'm not sure how it would happen.

I doubt that automating it could succeed.  Like if blocking any comment that used certain words - jewish, Muriel, holocaust - not only could that block other people's comments in other contexts but he'd just find alternative words anyway and keep reposting 24/7 with new usernames, might even enjoy the challenge.

Trying to hire volunteer unpaid interns to moderate might not be easy either.

It might end up being a matter of how much time an owner personally wants to devote to doing it?

greenca
greenca

@paulbuffalo

I wholeheartedly agree.  I believe he is a unhappy troll of the first order, and shows a clear pattern with each user name.  Starts off mild, and then notches it up slightly, then when he gets bored with a lack of reaction, he jumps in with the anti-Semitic nonsense just to get a reaction.   IMO the best way to deal with trolls like this (absent the moderators/administrators preventing him from polluting their board) is to simply not engage or react to them whatsoever.  If he has no audience, the fun is gone. I've stopped even reading his posts.  Let him spout his nonsense here.  It would make a good case study for a psychology student.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

@ChristopherAWahls

you're beyond pathetic. Why this site continues to countenance your prejudiced bile, I have no idea.

But as far as treating all religions with respect: Nope. Not inclined. Speaking my mind, I'll call a spade a spade. Christianity, imo, missed the boat around the time of Ireneusz (2nd century). And Judaism missed it long before. And Islam? don't even get me started. I should state for the record that I'm not inclined to respect Satanism or the Druid faith, either. But that's alright: I am not obliged to respect anyone's religion. I am only obliged to respect every person's right to choose his or her own beliefs.

I respect your right to believe whatever you choose, Christy. That doesn't mean I respect your beliefs, just your right to make your choices. Clearly, I don't respect what you believe and for that I won't apologize. Conservatives seem to have an especially difficult time allowing others to make different choices--they always want everyone to believe in the very same set of beliefs they themselves hold. Must be tough, feeling the world is going to hell in a hand basket, huh?

As far as the liberals leading to societal decadence, what a blessing that Nazi Germany got rid of all their liberals, eh? That conservatism sure served their society well. Didn't their Reich last 1,000 years? Good old conservatism: always there to right the boat. Just ask Pinochet and Franco and Krushchev and Stalin. Thank God for conservative stalwarts like you guys.

So, Christy: how's the dating life these days? How are your kids? Do you have any or are they simply not speaking to you?

rubagreta
rubagreta

@ChristopherAWahls The argument would be exactly the same if this were an old synagogue rather than an old church. Get back on your meds, please.

whateverr
whateverr

@ChristopherAWahls

This looks like a lame straw man argument since BR focuses on Buffalo, there's no holocaust or genocide museum here, so the topic of those hasn't come up until now on BR that I've noticed.

paulsobo>"Interesting how there is not 1 poster that objects to taxpayer funds being used to fund holocaust museums."

I don't see why anyone who generally opposes govt funding of museums wouldn't also oppose it for that type.  As someone against govt $ to museums, I wouldn't make any exceptions for any of them.

Private sector voluntary donations + admission fees or merchandise sales, etc. should be how all museums are funded without govt $ - regardless of whether it's the type of museum you're bringing up straw man style, or say the Buffalo History Museum, Buffalo Science Museum, Canalside kids' museum, etc. 

That should also be the case for old church buildings - no taxpayer $ at all.

On the other hand, anyone who disagrees with me and in a more fiscally liberal way favors govt funding for stuff like Buffalo History Museum, Science Museum, or Canalside kids museum perhaps might also favor it for a hypothetical holocaust museum here (&/or for the actual holocaust museum in DC).  Or they might not… no doubt many combinations of what people do or don't favor.

btw - I think the U.S. federal govt/taxpayers did help fund Cambodia's genocide museum.

buffalorr
buffalorr

Christy Lou Lou, OMG, like I said, all I have to do is read the first sentence of your posts and I can already guess where you'll be going with it so no need to bother reading the rest.

Just calm down and take your afternoon VV--Vodka and Valium, you'll be a much better person for doing it.

whateverr
whateverr

@ChristopherAWahls

sobo>"If US taxpayer money is good enough to perpetually fund every holocaust museum in the United States then US Taxpayer money is good enough to save historic churches."

Nope, one idea for govt spending doesn't justify another.  Yours is a fiscally liberal way of advocating "If we spend on bad idea A, then we should have to also spend for bad ideas B, C, D, ...".

It's as flawed logic as saying "Because some taxpayer $ is given to the Buffalo History Museum then it should also be given to a bike museum, weather museum, museum of dopey ideas by paulsobo, … " etc., etc. no limits.

Each thing should be judged on its own merits.  Church buildings shouldn't be funded with govt $.  Museums shouldn't either, but doing one doesn't justify the other.

buffalorr
buffalorr

Oh Brother! Only Christy Lou would jump off on a tangent this crazy!

Does he actually believe people read his entire posts?

I skip over them after about the first sentence since you can usually tell where he's about to go---totally looney tunes!

JayDBuffalo
JayDBuffalo

I would gladly have my tax money go to shutting you up.

LouisTully
LouisTully

Dude, you gotta tone your shit down.  The only people who buy into fanaticism are fanatics.  The only thing people like you accomplish is to drive moderate people the other way.  Why do you think Republicans have lost the last 2 elections.  Among other reasons, of course.  


Either way, you're a wacko and your shit is getting old.  Go to Texas and start a cult with Matty Ricch.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

@ChristopherAWahls

I think our stance in unquestioning support of Israel is misguided, counterproductive, bad policy economically, militarily and strategically.

But what the hell does that have to do with saving old churches?

You're contending the Jews oppose saving the churches? What Jews? Who are you talking about?

EB_Blue
EB_Blue

Anti-semitism has no place on Buffalo Rising, or in Buffalo for that matter.

disappeared
disappeared

@biniszkiewicz How many Americanized 4th, 5th, 6th generation Germans (or whatever amalgam they are now) will want to be interned in these abandoned former German churches?

David Steele
David Steele

@biniszkiewicz  A small church like this has found a new use but only after years of neglect and serious damage that could have easily been prevented with something as simple as a roof at a cost far lower than just one of the plastic houses built nearby.  A church this size could have been easily converted to accommodate 1 to maybe 5 residences that would have been very interesting and unique.  This church anchoring this mostly intact and attractive street would have been a far more powerful tool in rebuilding this neighborhood than the dull cheap scattershot plastic houses that you find around this area.  I don't understand why what I am promoting is even controversial.  It is a logical approach.

As for the bigger churches.  Close the ones in prosperous neighborhoods.  They are much more likely to find new uses.  Close the  small churches,  they are easier to use.  Consolidate your flock back into the city and use the big beautiful historic churches in to save the buildings and to use the energy of your faith to help the poor in these places find a better life.  That should be doable too and would fit with the mission of Christianity as I understand it.


disappeared
disappeared

@fixBuffalo  Just wondering if the plan includes sufficient capital to quickly make the necessary structural repairs.  I hope so and wish the group well.

Spock1
Spock1

Great news!  Nice to see the community step up and take on what appears to be an extremely difficult renovation project. 

whateverr
whateverr

@fixBuffalo

So, if I'm reading that correctly... there really is a plan for this building - a plan from a private sector group of new owners (a.k.a. private sector market demand) - while instead of Steel's suggestion for intervening using public $, all the 'The City' govt did was its appropriate regular activity of holding tax foreclosure sales?

paulbuffalo
paulbuffalo

@whateverr

The site should post clear guidelines of unacceptable behavior then allow the Flag button to actually work so users can participate.  It's not difficult if everyone understand the rules.

OldFirstWard
OldFirstWard

@greenca @paulbuffalo

Has it ever occurred to you that you may be responding to, or getting "likes" by his other identities?  I think it is safe to say that many of the usernames on this site are really....

Start with JayDBuffalo, runner68, and brownscanoe for the easy ones. 

LouisTully
LouisTully

Is it cool outside Buffalo, though?

paulbuffalo
paulbuffalo

@EB_Blue

That only a handful of people who comment on this site regularly complain -- too many here have remained silent entirely -- tells me that, unfortunately, anti-semitism and other racist and homophobic remarks do have a place on BuffaloRising.  He's been doing this since at least 2007 with almost no consequence.

300miles
300miles

@David Steele @biniszkiewicz

I think this is an excellent point regarding where and how public money is spent on housing.   We often hear about low-income (small) housing being built at ridiculous cost... like $200,000 per house.   Yet if the city would factor in 5 residences in a church like this and spend the equivalent amount of money it would be $1 million dollars towards renovating a historic building AND providing housing at the same time.   If we're going to "waste" public money on housing, why not spend it on something like this instead?

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

@David Steele @biniszkiewicz

re: "A church this size could have been easily converted to accommodate 1 to maybe 5 residences . . . "

Indeed. If money and demand were not at issue. You're the architect, Steel. What would you guesstimate the cost of residential conversion? Are old churches in Chicago's south side in hot demand?

re: "Close the (churches) in prosperous neighborhoods . . .":

You act as though the spiritual descendants of those who built these behemoths have some moral obligation to propagate them into posterity for the general benefit of the rest of us. They don't. There is no obligation upon these denominations whatsoever to keep these buildings standing. None. Zero. 

If their predecessors were foolish enough to imagine the world would never change and that all these expensive palaces would always find use, well then they misread the future. Perhaps they squandered money at the time. Perhaps those funds might have been more judiciously applied to something less fleeting. Oh, well. It was their choice to make. 

To the extent that these buildings have inspired residents over the years, those residents may thank the institutions which commissioned and maintained them. That doesn't imply that they must forever fulfill the role of building preservationist.

Apparently, those who continue to attend church are content to do so in the most drab buildings. Perhaps their spirituality is inspired by something other than architecture. 

Steel, you hold that those of this faith would be truer to their beliefs if they trekked (by car, doubtless) from the burbs to attend weekly mass. 

Are you a Christian? I'm not, myself, but I ask because you seem very comfortable lecturing to them. 

Those of you who enjoy these buildings: figure out a way to finance them that doesn't obligate the rest of us. Be creative with uses. I have no beefs with warehouse, gym, night club, strip club (though the last two are among those that the churches would veto, choosing instead to demolish) auto repair, anything at all that will preserve the shell. 

But to expect the taxpayer to pay to maintain hundreds of empty churches is a non starter with me and many like minded voters. I would wager that mine represents the majority opinion.

David Steele
David Steele



@whateverr  You should read the story before replying with uninformed snark.  If you had read the story you would know that I am asking for a plan beyond the needs of the individual building and if there had been such a plan this building would never have gotten to this state of decay and the neighborhood would likely be well on its way to being a stable attractive place to live. 

300miles
300miles

@whateverr @fixBuffalo

it's great that there is (supposedly) a private sector plan for this building, but the city should still have it's own plan in case that falls through... even if that's only to seal up the building for now and market it to investors.

whateverr
whateverr

@paulbuffalo 

Yes, just that deleting has no real effect if a persistently obsessed person with tons of time just copy/pastes (or re-writes) and again posts same comments a few hours later.

I don't disagree with you & bini about any aspect except feasibility for someone as obsessed as Christy.  You guys seem to think it'd be fast/easy to make a noticeable difference, while I'd bet time consuming for someone like him and with little impact. 

For less obsessive disruptors (of which there's amazingly few on BR), flagging as you suggest can be effective & efficient.  I wasn't aware if the flag button does nothing - if it doesn't, or if it's just that for him they don't respond.

OTOH - if advertisers really started canceling and cite Christy as why, maybe there'd be little choice for BR's owner other than to start again deleting him every day even though he'd likely just make new usernames & repost.  

Maybe at some point Christy would get tired of efforts and give up, although he never gave up back when they used to delete him for years.

If I were them or any blog owner, I'd try to find a technological automated service to customize for detecting trolls, similar to spam detection. That might not exist yet or might be expensive if it does.

whateverr
whateverr

@OldFirstWard 

"you can never be 100% sure without administrative permissions"

OFW - true, and admin permissions don't always have any more useful info about a commenter than any of us have as readers.  Depends how lazy the commenter is about it.

Web browsers or other programs or ISPs these days can dynamically modify IP addresses, and for new accounts one needs only to create a new email address which is fast & free using many companies.  Just as he invents new usernames, he can for new email addresses with Yahoo or similar.  All that's common knowledge.

Yes, if someone always submits using same IP and/or same email address in various username LiveFyre accounts, then admin privileges can spot that instantly and block or ban.

Hypothetically if BR really knows of a single IP or email that he consistently uses and still they leave up his comments from any username, that would indicate a deliberate choice on BR's part for some reason - clickbait/etc. - in which case the concept of banning is moot anyhow.

However, I'd guess at least as likely that he appears to BR/Livefyre computers as multiple separate users in all ways except text he types - with which anyone can try to see patterns but it's always guesses.  Since it's so important to him to keep posting jew hating on here, no reason he wouldn't do those extra steps.

About what you wrote about being able to "convince me" to 85% about Jay or canoe - 

I really doubt it a lot for those two, although we'll never know.  It's also posible that I'd convince you oppositely of course about them.  It will remain a mystery for all alleged Christy sock puppets except if he's sloppy with text (or with IP/email if a blog admin cares).

OldFirstWard
OldFirstWard

@whateverr @LouisTully

Of course you can never be 100% sure without administrative permissions, but I would put it at a very high probability, say 85%. 

Lou, don't be naive into thinking that I base it solely upon their disagreements with my positions, that for the most part is irrelevant, though it does raises a flag with the consistency.  Even worse is to think that those "usernames" have to be in agreement with his views is quite hilarious.  In fact that is how he fools you by being just the opposite. 

I'm not going to tell you how I came to my conclusion in an open forum so that he can make the necessary adjustments,  I know that does not give you much to go on, but as most of you regulars know, I am quite thorough whether you agree with me or not.  Whatever, if I explained it to you about the three I mentioned, you would be convinced.  Lou you're not a suspect.  

whateverr
whateverr

@LouisTully

"Not sure what I did to prove I'm not wack-job paulsobo/christielou/etc."

lol - I must be lucky to not be dragged in too since I think I might have a perfect record of never agreeing with OFW. Nothing comes to mind, anyhow.

But it raises a good point that the accusations can be overdone.  I've mentioned the same thought as OFW did about runner68 - whose replies have also denied it to me, argued that he/she isn't one of Christy's sock puppets. I still don't think I was wrong about it for reasons I gave once showing their very similar writing styles, although no way to know for sure.   

It goes to show how difficult it can be for a website to try banning anyone without risking any collateral impacts on others - wording can seem similar or be faked to look slightly different, IP addresses can be disguised, and so on.

Instead of guessing any more when it isn't fully clear, now at most I might just mention if some writing looks Christyish then leave it at that - or not even say anything about it.  

Neither JayDBuffalo nor brownscanoe (nor Tully, lol) ever seemed to me as having any of Christy's styles or wording at all - so I've no idea of why OFW might really think any of those are him.

LouisTully
LouisTully

The names he listed are all people who disagree with his positions or points of view.  I was on that list the last time, too.  Not sure what I did to prove I'm not wack-job paulsobo/christielou/etc.

runner68
runner68

@OldFirstWard @greenca @paulbuffalo None of us have showed anything that would say that we are him...Do you see any of us spurting out that anti-Jew crap? Because I don't. 

I like how my personal and forward ideas are being grouped with an anti-semite. Shows the cowardly character you are. You can't attack me on ideas and logic, but you can easily attack my so called "character". 

Little late to the party my friend. 

greenca
greenca

@paulbuffalo @greenca

If no one responds at all, he'd be shouting into a vacuum and it would be like he didn't even exist.  That probably won't stop him, but he wouldn't have an impact if he is routinely ignored.

LouisTully
LouisTully

" You have no idea what is yet to come in your future."

Spoken like a true prophet.  Like the crazy guy standing outside Main Place with the end of the world sign.  Wait a minute...

LouisTully
LouisTully

Oh,  dude.  Grammar, spelling... all that shit with paulsobo, just check it at the door.  No use.  The guy couldn't correctly spell, punctuate, or compose a love letter to Ted Cruz.


But, come on!  You don't knead to no how to spell shit to be taken seriously!  Especially when you make logical, sensible arguments like this guy.  I mean, why aren't we talking about OBAMACARE yet?!  Like, that's totally relevant to this discussion!

LouisTully
LouisTully

I would defer to binis' response below for my sentiment.  Hate of any kind has no place anywhere.  Plus paulsobo is a bit (I mean a lot) nuts.  Sometimes you don't disagree with a person, just how they say it.

disappeared
disappeared

@biniszkiewicz I really doubt it.  Most Polish Americans, I'm sure, would opt for St. Stan's, St. Adalbert's or a few other cemeteries in the burbs before they would choose to be interred in a mausoleum on the East Side.  But can you think of any other typos that will get the anti-Semite's knickers up in a twist?  BTW, I'm a Christian guy who married a Jewish guy and we get along fine which I hope makes CAWahls puke up a little in his mouth.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

@ChristopherAWahls

To what Jews are you referring, Christy? Has anyone here identified themselves as such? 

Are you hypothesizing once again that I'm Jewish? (I have no Jewish lineage; I don't believe in their religion, just to be clear).

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

@300 miles

You presume this building could have yielded five homes in a renovated structure for $1m. Under the funding formulae used for those units, I doubt that could be achieved.

Also recall that The Church, formerly Babeville, cost in excess of $12m to revovate. And that included no apartments.

whateverr
whateverr

@ColinWGallagher

There might be exceptions, but in general I'd think church buildings often being large & inefficient for keeping within pretty narrow ranges of temperature & humidity (as might be needed for books?) could make that not a cost-effective reuse.

That, plus cost factors like long term maintenance upkeep, and adding handicap access, … and as disappeared noted, the # of branch libraries decreasing with passage of time rather than increasing...

whateverr
whateverr

@David Steele 

"referendums are a poor substitute for planning and strategy"

It wouldn't substitute for planning or strategy but could decide limits about for what expenditures the city's or county's people do or don't want their tax $ to be used.  Plans & strategies then could be decided by elected officials in ways compliant with those limits. 

Your sides of issues could also try to influence govt that way - say a citywide referendum for yes/no on funding the mayor's demolition program or to greatly raise taxes on parking lots, or countywide for spending on ECC buildings and so on.

Power to the people.

LouisTully
LouisTully

@disappeared @ColinWGallagher Speaking of libraries...

Anyone been by North Park lately, at Hertel and Delaware?  Good thing they don't show that in the VBN videos.  Looks like a dump.

disappeared
disappeared

@ColinWGallagher One problem.  They've been cutting down the number of libraries and curtailing their hours as it is now.  Where will the money come from?

whateverr
whateverr

@biniszkiewicz

bini>"But to expect the taxpayer to pay to maintain hundreds of empty churches is a non starter with me and many like minded voters. I would wager that mine represents the majority opinion."

I'd wager that way too.  Either way, it would be interesting to see how a majority would vote. 

Wouldn't it be good if citywide or countywide voter referendums could be how some of these controversial government spending choices are decided?

yes/no - Should X amount of public dollars be spent on __? [vacant church buildings, or Bass Pro, Darwin Martin House, stadium, art/cultural groups, Soraa/Silevo/AMRI facilities, Sycamore Village houses, Livery, Geico, ECC north... etc.]

Those types of ballot questions might attract more voter turnout than happens when selecting between candidates who often are pretty much interchangeable even in rare cases when races are contested.  

I realize it's very far fetched to think such referendums would ever happen - just saying it'd be a good improvement is all.

pampiniform
pampiniform

How do you know that?  Putting money into a structure like that sounds just as likely to be a waste of money.  

I don't necessarily like the houses,  and think it's a fair matter of debate whether they represent the best use of public funds.  But I think that trying to argue that refurbishing an old church in that neighborhood with public funds into who knows what purpose is going to be a hard argument to make.  Exactly what could that church be converted into that would help that street?   

David Steele
David Steele

@biniszkiewicz You are focusing on the building.  I am talking about the city and the neighborhood.  The money spent on the nearby plastic houses could have been invested into this building and this street in a focused way to leverage a fare better result.


runner68
runner68

@biniszkiewicz @David Steele I agree with Bini; govt. money should not be poured into these structures. Yes, they are beautiful, they are our heritage and our history, and their presence contributes a lot to the neighborhoods their in, but it's not the governments business. If someone wants it, they will buy it. But the schools and the neighborhood have to change first. If someone would put time and money into mothballing some of these things, that would be great, but I don't think its possible presently. You need a dedicated group of people like the Central Terminal Restoration folks, or the Darwin Martin people. Are you going to find those types of people for say, Transfiguration? Could you work on a shoe string budget with that thing? 

I also think that the businesses mentioned above are and should be viable options for these types of buildings. Other than that, why not a library? Other than a mausoleum, that would be another fantastic reuse. Imagine reading a book in St. Ann's...shivers. 

disappeared
disappeared

@David Steele You make it sound as if the problem only involves one dilapidated church.  How many of them do you want to use public funds to repair?  And how many houses?  Hundreds?  Well, there are probably thousands in Buffalo that need basic repairs to maintain their structural integrity.  Again, how much do you propose to spend on what?  There is a limited supply of taxpayer dollars.  What are the priorities?  Do certain neighborhoods get homes fixed up first?  So what is your plan?  Maybe even something in the way of a general outline with a budget and timetable?  Oh, and can you show me where I defended the pointless spending on cardboard housing? Sorry, I am not a straw man of your creation.

whateverr
whateverr

@David Steele 

steel>"If you had read the story you would know that I am asking for a plan beyond the needs of the individual building"

I did read it, and although you did also suggest govt spending for 'beyond' the building you will notice that I didn't take issue with anything except govt spending on the building.

Your article advocated city govt spending directly on the church building.

steel(in article)>"… After years of unchecked deterioration it will now be a heavy lift to bring it back, most likely requiring public investment to return it to productive use. ...  If there was a plan The City might have determined that we have to use its limited resources on saving something unique like this church and its street.  ..."

You also advocated city govt spending for the street...

"Imagine if the city had focused its attention on shoring up this pretty little tree-lined street"

On that I agree with you.  

Sherman St looks in awful condition as of when Google streetview images were taken - much in need of repairs & paving.  It wouldn't be surprising if its sidewalks are similarly neglected.

Residential streets/sidewalks such as Sherman are great examples of what govt $ should be spent on instead of on private buildings (even nice private buildings or those that attract visitors) or on private businesses. 

David Steele
David Steele

@disappeared As I have said repeatedly, spending here on this unique building instead of on the drab plastic houses that you prefer would be a far better investment. The return on investment would have been far more than the nearby plastic houses.  A $20,000 roof 15 years ago would have made this building $100s of thousands cheaper to repurpose.  It would have been very salvageable at a reasonable cost.  The money is available.  It is being spent without thought, without strategy yet you defend the pointless spending.  Why?


disappeared
disappeared

@David Steele Seriously, how much of a budget from Buffalo taxpayers do you want to make how much in repairs of how many decaying churches?  I understand your ounce of prevention is more valuable than a pound of cure argument, but how much money do you think is or should be available for repair of privately owned edifaces?

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