Posted at: 04/14/2013 7:48 AM
Updated at: 04/14/2013 8:19 AM
By: Dan Bazile
The teeth of an excavator takes a major bite out of Saint Patrick's Church in Watervliet, drawing tears from those with an emotional connection to the century old structure.
Many residents stood by and watched. Some were taking pictures and brought their children along with personal stories of their baptism and weddings inside the church.
“I'm taking pictures and saving them because I'd like my children and grandchildren to remember what was here before they chopped everything down,” says neighbor Misty Lemay.
Demolition resumed early Saturday after Citizens for Saint Patrick's, a group of residents that have been fighting for more than a year to preserve the building, lost a court decision that lifted a restraining order on leveling the structure.
"This wasn't supposed to be done until next week, but they came in and took off the porticos,” says neighbor Donna Wellworth.
Police were notified early Saturday that the work would begin. The demolition crew told us they'll return on Monday to start finishing the job. They plan on starting from the back of the church and work their way toward the front. You can see the prep work and heavier equipment standing by.
Developer, Nigro Companies, bought the church from the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese. It's coming down to make way for a supermarket.
“You could see this building from miles away. You're going to tear it down to put a grocery store there. I don't understand it,” says Lemay.
Citizens for Saint Patrick's still has more lawsuits pending and will continue with appeals, but nothing that would stop the razing of the historic church.
“It's a magnificent structure. You could never replace this. It should have been on the historical society," says former Watervliet resident Spiros Kirloglou.
Wellworth says she feels, "definitely betrayed by the city, diocesan, Nigro and Price Chopper."