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Date of Issue: November 22, 2007

Demolition work begins at church

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Larry Oxendine, owner of Palmetto Asphalt, watches as an excavator operator removes a section of the old chapel and library at Crosspointe Fellowship in Holmes Beach.
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The cornerstone in the old chapel will be preserved, according to Pat Morton, who is responsible for the maintenance of Crosspointe Fellowship campus.
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West Manatee Fire Rescue District firefighters train on the roof of the old chapel at Crosspointe Fellowship in Holmes Beach. The chapel, replaced with a sanctuary built in 1982, is being demolished. Islander Photos: Lisa Neff

A seven-member demolition team last week began tearing down the 50-year-old former chapel and library buildings at the Crosspointe Fellowship in Holmes Beach.

The same day the demolition work began, Nov. 15, firefighters with the West Manatee Fire Rescue District conducted a training exercise at the site.

The old one-story buildings to the north of the sanctuary and the fellowship hall were damaged by termites and covered with mold, as well as contained asbestos tiles, according to Crosspointe’s campus manager Pat Morton.

A renovation would have cost about $800,000 and the structures, taken out of use several years ago, also were not insurable, Morton said.

So the church decided to demolish the buildings, a process that began last week with the removal of asbestos on Nov. 13, followed by the tear down that began Nov. 15.

Larry Oxendine, owner of Palmetto Asphalt, the contractor on the project, estimated the demolition would take about three weeks and cost $30,000.

“It’s beyond repair,” Oxendine said.

He said the operation would be delicate and probably not involve a wrecking ball because other structures are too close.

“We’ll do a lot of piece by piece,” he said as an operator used an excavator to sort steel and wood into recycling piles at the Gulf Drive property.

“We’ll recycle as much as we can,” Oxendine said, noting that steel, wood, cement and wiring would be recovered.  “That’s our big thing.”

WMFR, meanwhile, continued to use Crosspointe for training exercises. Earlier this fall, WMFR and Longboat Key firefighters conducted exercises in the old chapel. Last week, firefighters practiced using the department’s ladder truck, as well as cutting into a roof.

After tearing down the buildings, the area will be covered with either shell or grass, Morton said.

Eventually, he added, the church may build another classroom building on the site. “That’s three or four years down the road,” Morton said.