Group wants to save historic West Chester buildings

WEST CHESTER, Pa. - December 15, 2010

The First Presbyterian Church in West Chester has served its congregation since 1834.

A few years ago, it acquired two historic buildings next door in the 100 block of West Miner Street. Church officials now want to raze the buildings.

"We can expand to meet our current needs, which include another worship area, another common gathering place," said church attorney Bob Adams.

A group called "Preservation Pennsylvania" has added the two 19th century buildings to its "At-Risk 2010" list in hopes of getting the attention of others who want to save them.

One member, former councilman Bill Scott, wondered why the church can't expand without tearing the existing buildings down.

"There is plenty of room on that property for them to do what they want. They just have to be sensitive and realize the value of these properties," said Scott.

Phyllis Kidder lives near the church. She also wants the two buildings saved.

"They have no respect for the neighborhood. How can you tear down two beautiful buildings like that?" Kidder asked.

The West Chester planning board has already rejected the church's plan because of parking issues.

Adams said the plan is in compliance.

"They used whatever they could find to turn us down because they were so upset," Adams said.

The West Chester council will take up the church's land development plan on Wednesday night. If it is approved it would pave the way for demolition. If it is rejected, the church's attorney will likely appeal to a higher authority.

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