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Monday, February 10, 2014 - 2:34pm

Historic Macon Church In Danger Of Demolition Again

The congregation that owns downtown Macon's historic Tremont Temple Baptist Church could get their demolition permit after all.

On Monday the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Commission approved church leadership's request for a rehearing on the issue.

The congregation now worships at a new building on Bloomfield Road, and they want to sell their old church to a developer who plans to level it in favor of a Dunkin' Donuts.

In December, commissioners denied the demolition permit, saying the building is too important to knock down.

But at Monday's meeting, Macon-Bibb Department of Inspection and Fees Director Tom Buttram told commissioners the church presented him with a letter from a structural engineer saying the building is in imminent danger of collapse.

Buttram worries the church may fall into the adjacent lane, which is city property, he said.

"I sent a letter to the church giving them a time frame in which to address the situation, whether it be demolition or structural stabilization of the building," Buttram said.

That deadline was Monday at 4:00 p.m., however in light of the fact that commissioners plan to rehear the case, Buttram said he will work with the church to extend the deadline.

Historic Macon Foundation Executive Director Josh Rogers has been trying to buy the historic building to preserve it, offering to essentially match the offer the congregation has from Macon Dunkin' Donuts franchisee Lou Patel.

"I think the likelihood of this building being demolished has increased dramatically today, and its fate is much more in danger than it was before today," Rogers told reporters after the commission's approval of a rehearing.

The rehearing will take place February 24.


Adam Ragusea

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