'Save the Parish:' Hope Mills residents rally to save parish house despite demolition

HOPE MILLS, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Thursday afternoon, residents hoping to save the Parish House gathered outside. They rallied and held signs that read, "Save the Parish."

"It's pieces of our history just being torn town without even a second thought," said resident Alyssa Bellflowers.

The town board voted Monday night to demolish the property. Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers voted against it and told ABC11 there were other options to be considered.

"With a partnership in Fayetteville Technical Community College construction students. Another one was at the state level with preservation of North Carolina," said Bellflowers.

The building was built in 1910 but rebuilt in 1916 after a fire destroyed the building. Carla Welsh is a secretary with the town Historic Society. She said it was used for baptisms, Sunday school and community needs.

Mayor Jackie Warner said the Parish House sat idle since the Episcopal Diocese donated it several years ago. According to Warner, it was already deteriorating.

"We do have a lot of history in this district. We need to look at what can we save and what we can promote," said Warner. "We want to preserve as much as we can in Hope Mills, but also want to make sure we are making good use of our taxpayer dollars."

Warner said there are no plans to building anything at the site of the building. Still, residents are outraged at losing a piece of Hope Mills history.

"If they had spent money doing basic maintenance and instead of doing studies, we would still have the Parish House and we wouldn't be here," said Rob Maclean

Town leaders told ABC11 the building could be demolished as early as Jan. 27.
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