Lehigh Valley

Easton church restores blighted historic building

VIDEO Easton church restores blighted...

EASTON, Pa. - After years of fighting the city of Easton about maintenance, the Rock Church says it has big plans for an old building near downtown.

It's been an eyesore for decades but now this dilapidated building at the intersection of Fifth and Northampton in Easton is getting a facelift.

"Final renovation, what we've been waiting to occur what the city has been waiting to occur since 1979," said Kevin Santos, a trustee of Rock Church.

The original structure pre-dates the Revolutionary War and was purchased by the Rock Church nearly 40 years ago, but maintaining a historical property isn't easy and it fell into disrepair.

The church was often at odds with the city, paying thousands in fines because of the building's condition and Santos says he'd had enough.

"Finances are still an issue but as you can see the light is clear at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Easton Mayor Sal Panto says he's glad the church is complying with necessary property improvements.

"We're very excited the work has started to rid the property of code violations so this very historic structure doesn't detoriate further," Panto said.

Santos said the plan is to rehab the outside and shell out the inside. He said the church is open to selling or renting the space and is open to what the building may become.

"I want to see something that will benefit community. Right across the street, you have the state theatre. I'd like to see something that would compliment the growth that's pulling up this way," he said.

The church said it hopes to have the work done by the end of the month.

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