The “I’m Steel Standing” event last Sunday outside of the Bethlehem Steel North Administration Building, drew nearly 100 local residents and former employees to the historic site. For several months now, the push has been on to engage local residents in an intense campaign of increasing support for the landmark’s adaptive reuse. 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.
With Judge Kenneth Case set to issue a decision on the stay of demolition in Erie County Court Tuesday morning, the Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group (LIHG) is continuing to speak out, and canvass local neighborhoods. Petition signatures will be delivered to Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski on Tuesday, November 27th. LIHG will meet in front of Lackawanna City Hall, 714 Ridge Road at 3pm, and the media and public are invited.
Despite the fact that the State Historic Preservation Office has declared the building structurally sound, this important part of our cultural heritage is under threat of demolition by both the City of Lackawanna, and its private owners, Gateway Trade. LIHG seeks to build consensus, and has presented several adaptive reuse ideas, connected the owners 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.
For more information, please contact the Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group at (716-253-7775), visit http://www.imsteelstanding.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.