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Old Sutersville church may yet survive

| Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

The former Presbyterian Church of Sutersville is getting a reprieve from the wrecking ball, at least temporarily.

Sutersville Borough Council has shelved its plans to hire a contractor to demolish the closed church at 220 First Ave., and convert the property into a parking lot, Council President Edward Marvich Jr. said last week.

“We put a hold on that (demolition). It would be kind of sad to tear it down,” Marvich said.

When borough officials last month inspected the inside of the former church, they found that the sanctuary portion of the building is intact, despite being closed since May 2008. There was some damage to the rear portion of the building, where the roof had leaked, Marvich said.

The former church was in better condition than they were originally led to believe, Mayor Alaina Breakiron said. The church is believed to be the oldest structure in the borough and it has a sentimental value to a lot of people in the town, Breakiron said. The Presbyterian church in Sutersville was founded in 1891.

“Right now, we are all leaning toward not demolishing it at all,” Breakiron said.

The borough could advertise the building for sale in the hopes that someone would purchase it and preserve the structure while reusing it, the mayor said.

The matter will be discussed further at borough council's meeting on Tuesday .

After the borough acquired the building from the Redstone Presbytery of Greensburg in October for $1, Breakiron said she would like to see the building demolished for a parking lot. If the borough eliminates parking along Second Street, the former church property would provide parking for those living along that street.

The Redstone Presbytery, which oversees Presbyterian churches in Westmoreland County, had tried to sell the building to the borough in 2012, but borough officials were not interested, said the Rev. Richard “Skip” Noftzger, executive director of the presbytery. The church building still had the pews and organ, but other furnishings from its previous life as a church were removed about five years ago, Noftzger said.

Another closed church building in Sutersville, the former St. Charles Borromeo Church, at 419 Fifth Ave., has been converted into the Sutersville Antique Mall, where about 15 vendors are selling their wares.

Mike Adametz and his wife, Carol, purchased the former church and the priest's two-story residence from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg for $80,000 in July.

In other matters, Sutersville officials last month adopted a tentative budget for 2015 that keeps local real estate taxes at 8 mills, while projecting only a slight increase in expenditures next year over 2014, said Valerie Converso, borough secretary.

Sutersville's $321,023 budget anticipates generating $102,821 in revenue for 2015. The borough expects to start the year with $218,382 .

The borough expects to spend $105,774 to fund government operations, including $13,064 for public safety and $43,016 for road department work.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jnapsha@tribweb.com or 724-836-5252.