Local News

Fayetteville group fights to save church

Posted February 25, 2011 12:49 p.m. EST
Updated February 26, 2011 11:01 a.m. EST

— A group in Fayetteville is trying to save the abandoned Trinity Baptist Church, which is due to be demolished.

“This church has been something of a beacon on this hill for over 60 years,” local developer and contractor Brian Watson said.

Watson said he wants to deliver the building, which has stood vacant for at least five years on Hillsboro Street, from condemnation.

“We just saw the potential for what was sitting here, just untapped, to bring something back,” Watson said.

Watson and a group of partners bought the site last summer in hopes of building a new structure and offering it to a local church. After a closer look, they decided the old building could have new life.

“You don’t build buildings like they used to. This is a very strong building. It’s a fantastic structure,” he said.

Despite their pleas to save the building, the city appears bent on tearing it down. City leaders say the building has drawn complaints from the neighborhood and has long been a magnet for vagrants.

“I don’t see anything that can be done to save the building now,” City Code Manager Bart Swanson said, adding that the building is not structurally sound and has a huge hole in the roof.

Swanson also pointed out that a 2007 fire left damage to the inside of the building.

Still, the new owners say they have the blessing of neighbors, who do not want it torn down.

The city has not set a demolition date.

The group that owns the site says it has collected 80 signatures on a petition to save the building.