Harrisburg City saddled with $100,000+ bill for church demolition

Demolition is underway again at the vacant church building in Harrisburg that partially collapsed on February 21.

The owner is facing charges and now the city is footing the $132,000 bill for that demolition.

The family who lives next door has been living in city housing since the collapse brought debris down on their property.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse has a new proposal for how to pay for it. He is asking the Interdenominational Ministers’ Conference and the NAACP to contribute. The building’s owner, Bishop Augustus Sullivan, is president of the IMC.

Sullivan filed an injunction to stop the demolition, but the city now has permission to move forward. Workers say the stability is precarious and more of the church could come down.

“Why don’t we fundraise together to help reimburse the costs, and do positive things for the community,” says Papenfuse. “It’s not just the demolition costs, also the family has been harmed.”

The mayor said the cost is “a huge burden on the city.”

The two agencies did not respond to calls to comment.

The demolition will take two weeks, and the family hopes to be back in their home by then.