Church seeks to defer decision on demolition permit

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Following a community meeting on April 30, the Kansas East Conference Board of Trustees will request the Topeka City Council to defer a decision on the conference’s request for a permit to demolish the former East Topeka United Methodist Church building, located at 700 SE Lime.

“We are not withdrawing the request for demolition,” said Rev. Kay Scarbrough, Topeka district superintendent. “We are asking the council to delay making a final decision for a month to give interested parties time to pursue some other options that came to light during the community meeting.”

Withdrawing the request would start the process to seek demolition over again. Deferment will allow the Council to consider the demolition permit again at a future meeting.

Rev. Neil Gately, chairman of the conference board of trustees, said the conference is most interested in options that include moving the building from the property to another location to allow the Fellowship and Faith ministry of the United Methodist Church to continue serving the community.

Fellowship and Faith has been serving the needs of the East Topeka community since 1960. The conference planned to demolish the sanctuary and give the property to Fellowship and Faith to continue its ministry to the community.

Because of the sanctuary’s proximity to the annex where the Fellowship and Faith ministry is located, it is not feasible to split the property into two parcels between the buildings, Gately said.

“The request to demolish the building cannot be approved unless it is proven there are no feasible and prudent options to demolition,” Scarbrough said. “It is important to give adequate time to those interested in the building to explore those options before making a final determination.”

Councilman John Campos, who represents that part of the city, is expected to make the motion to defer the decision for another month at Tuesday’s council meeting.

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