Dilapidated church still standing

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 13, 1999

A decaying church on Martin Luther King Jr. Street scheduled for demolition will not be torn down on schedule because the owner of the property has hired an attorney to stop it.

Carlotta Beverly, pastor of the Full Gospel Baptist Church, has hired Claude Pintard of Natchez to stop the destruction of her old church building at 1019 Martin Luther King Jr. St.

For months, the church has been decaying and pieces of it are falling on neighboring property.

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On July 13, Natchez alderman Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West requested emergency action to tear down the dilapidated church.

Seven weeks later, West is still asking for that demolition and one side of the church is still leaning ever closer to Geneva Jackson’s house at 1021 Martin Luther King Jr. St.

&uot;Nobody has said anything to me about this church,&uot; Jackson said Thursday.

&uot;They came out and put this clothesline around this big old building to try to hold it up,&uot; she said.

According to board minutes, West made a motion at the July 13 aldermen meeting. At that time, West &uot;reported an emergency situation and requested emergency demolition of the structure&uot; located at 1019 Martin Luther King Jr. St.

&uot;Instead,&uot; the minutes read, &uot;it was referred to committee, and Alderman West met with the Mayor, the City Building Official, the City Attorney and members of the church.&uot;

West said the decaying structure not only threatens Geneva Jackson and her house next door, but children walking past the building to and from school.

Because of those concerns, West moved that the city resolve the dangerous situation with an emergency demolition or whatever else might be done to remove the immediate danger to people nearby.

At the Aug. 10 meeting, City Attorney Walter Brown said that city officials met with the property owner Beverly, and agreed the city would assist the church in demolishing the building and performing whatever asbestos removal was required. The cost of the building removal and asbestos abatement would be charged to the owner of the property.

It was with this understanding that aldermen voted unanimously on Aug. 10 to tear down the old church.

In the meantime, Beverly retained Pintard as attorney on behalf of the trustees of the church.

&uot;The property is owned by the church and we’re working on getting the city the authority they need to proceed with the demolition,&uot; Pintard said.

Pintard said he has been working with attorney Brown to arrange a asbestos abatement that would be cost efficient for the city and the church.

&uot;They found asbestos in the Youth Court and we’re trying to get a price to do both,&uot; Pintard said.

Natchez Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown is deeply concerned about the safety hazard of the decaying building.

&uot;In the interest of public safety, there is no other alternative,&uot; Brown said. &uot;I think it’s terribly unfair for the rest of the taxpayers to bear the expense of tearing down this church, but it has to be done.&uot;

Pintard said he doesn’t believe it is fair for the trustees of a poor church to bear the cost of asbestos abatement and demolition.

The mayor said the city frequently checks the building, but is basically helpless to do anything about it until the landowner agrees to let the building come down.

Pintard said he hopes to have the proper approval from trustees of the church soon.

&uot;I’m trying to finish this within a week,&uot; Pintard said.