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Demolition taking place at former Episcopal Church Home

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Chris Caya/WBFO news
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A dilapidated landmark near the Peace Bridge in Buffalo is finally coming down.

After sitting vacant for several years, the state purchased the Episcopal Church Home in 2013.

The property is considered key to expanding the Peace Bridge Plaza, but Empire State Development Regional President and Bridge Authority member Sam Hoyt says after the site is cleared it will be landscaped.

"It will create a nice buffer between the neighborhood and the Peace Bridge Plaza. But there is no long term plan in terms of what it's future use will be," Hoyt said.

The only building that will remain Hoyt says is the Hutchinson Chapel at the corner of Busti and Rhode Island.

"That's the one building of all of them...that is no doubt the most valuable in terms of its history and its architecture and the state is totally committed to both salvaging that building but ultimately identifying a reuse for it," he added.

Longtime neighbor and bridge expansion opponent Kathy Mecca, president of the Columbus Park Neighborhood Association, says the historic buildings could have been redeveloped but private interests were rebuffed. 

"It was intentional blighting all along. And it was either going to be sold to the Public Bridge Authority for landbanking. Or as we know now the governor's aspiration to expand the Peace Bridge Plaza into the neighborhood," Mecca said.  

Hoyt says site work should be wrapped up by fall.