LITTLE VALLEY – A resolution to delay demolition of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building has been referred to a committee of the County Legislature for more study.
The resolution would require the county to exhaust all other possibilities before authorizing demolition.
Descendants of members of the New York 154th Volunteer Infantry, a Civil War unit raised mostly from Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties and trained here, have written letters and emails asking that the building be preserved.
The preservation effort appears to be led by unit authority and historian Mark Dunkleman, who lives in Rhode Island.
Some legislators said most of the people who are against the destruction of the building are from outside the county, even out of the state.
That has made an impact on the lawmakers as to the lack of voice within the boundaries.
The resolution being studied would ensure that, after the architectural and engineering services that have already been contracted, no further action would be taken with the buildings until all options for preservation were exhausted.
“The intent of this resolution would be to collect all of the emails and letters that have come from the people that don’t want to see the building demolished,” District 10 Legislator Steve Teachman, sponsor of the resolution, said.
“We don’t have to have an act to postpone, but I went with having it so outside people can see we are doing everything we can to explore all options on the building.”
Teachman said a waiting period could bring to the front a group that might be able to purchase the building and turn it into something, such as a restaurant.
The feasibility of that idea was shot down almost immediately as County Attorney Tom Brady said the property on which the building is situated was given to the county under specific rules.
Those rules would have the land revert to the family that endowed the land if it is no longer used as intended.
All is not lost for the preservationists, however.
The building still stands as engineers plan asbestos abatement and demolition processes, County Administrator John R. “Jack” Searles said.
“I would think we aren’t going to tear this building down any time soon,” he said, with agreement from Public Works Commissioner, Joseph Pillittere.
Estimated time to bring the building down would be sometime in the spring of 2014, at the earliest, Pillittere said.
The bill received enough votes to hold it in committee and will not be brought to the floor of the Legislature at its next meeting Tuesday.
Those with ideas for the building, or ideas on a fitting memorial for the site are being encouraged to send them to the County Administrator’s Office.