Church told to give proof of financing for building Site to be cleared, filled if deadline is not met

June 25, 1996|By Marilyn McCraven | Marilyn McCraven,SUN STAFF

Some Christian Temple Faith Church members say it's a holy fight.

Baltimore City Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III says it's a fight over a hole in the ground.

An exasperated neighborhood leader says a pox on both their houses for the long-running dispute: "I'm sick of it," said Earles R. Mitchell, president of the Langston Hughes Community Association.

The center of all this attention is the beginnings of a new church building at 5101 Reisterstown Road, near Garrison Boulevard.

Shortly after construction began 12 years ago, it was stopped because of a shortage of funds, leaving an 8-foot-deep hole that neighbors say poses health and safety problems, including serving as a breeding ground for mosquitoes in the summer.

If the church fails to submit proof today that it has secured financing to complete the building in a timely manner, city bulldozers will soon clear the site and fill the hole, Henson said.

It's the second such deadline Henson has issued since Friday, when he notified church leaders in writing that the site was to be graded and leveled yesterday.

That deadline was allowed to pass after church members assembled to block bulldozers and plead for a chance to provide proof of financing.

Church leaders say they expect to have a letter today from BAC Realty Financing of Staten Island, N.Y., notifying them whether they have been approved for a $2 million mortgage.

However, Sharon Huttner, BAC's president, said: "We can't tell them until next week if they can get the loan."

Despite a 12-year wait, the Rev. Harold Andrews, an associate minister, says it is unreasonable for the city not to give the church a 30-day extension to secure financing and work out other final details.

"We set out to do the work of the Lord and we're not going to take 'no' for an answer," Andrews said.

"I don't see an edifice being built there anytime soon," Henson said. "What I see are partial plans and dreams."

Pub Date: 6/25/96

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