Originally published as “Razing of Bethlehem Steel building begins, but preservationists to continue fight” by WBFO 88.7am, Buffalo’s NPR News Station, by Eileen Buckley, January 25, 2013.
Despite efforts by area preservationists over the last nine months, demolition of the former Bethlehem Steel Administration building in Lackawanna started Thursday. But members of Buffalo’s Young Preservationists say they are not giving up on trying to save the structure.
Preservationist Dana Saylor tells WBFO News although work is underway to tear down the structure, the group will continue to protest to save part of the building.
“Until that facade comes down, we’re not done. And even when that happens, we still are going to be following the money trail. We want to see what the demolition contractors made from this deal,” Saylor said.
Saylor admits preservationists have little legal recourse at this point unless improper demolition practices or asbestos disposals are witnessed.
Citizens working to save the building say Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski and Gateway Trade, which owns the building, has refused to listen to their concerns in stopping the wrecking ball.
“We have asked them to come to the table numerous times and there was never really a genuine attempt to do that,” said Saylor.
“[Szymanski] never asked for community input. He just went ahead and did it. Even when we handed him 600 local signatures from the petition, he still refused to come to the table,” she added.
Preservationists say the 1901 building is eligible for both state and national registers of historic places.