ROCKFORD (WREX) — More than a year after the New Fellowship Baptist Church’s roof collapse, the City of Rockford says it will clean up the site.
City leaders say the church and its insurance company are in the middle of a legal battle about who should pay to clean up the area. That’s why it says the church has stood half demolished for more than a year.
But, it says the two parties will likely not come to resolution anytime soon. That’s why Rockford says it issued a 30-day notice to help begin the demolition process.
“Just allowing a church that’s half torn down in a residential area to is unacceptable,” Nick Meyer, the city attorney says. “It’s not fair to the residents. They had nothing to do with it”
It’s a job the city says will cost roughly $80,000. And if the city moves forward with the demolition, the church will have to pay back that cost.
“One of the options is to lien the property,” Meyer says. “Lien on the property, foreclose on the property, sell the property and recoup the cost.”
The only way the city can move forward with demolition is if the church doesn’t file an object. Otherwise, leaders say they plan to take the matter to court.
“They could file a court case to object and in that court case, we would be seeking an order to demolish,” Meyer says.
Regardless of who cleans up the mess, neighbors say they just want to see the eyesore disappear.
“Somebody is going to get hurt in there,” Thomas Butler, a resident says. “You can see there are stakes sticking up and all somebody has to do is walk over these blocks, trip and fall and they’re going to get skewered.”
This move from the city comes after it instituted a code hearing against the church back in October. The city says no one from the church showed up to that hearing. It says it fined the owners $3,500 for a variety of violations.