BUTTE - In an eight to four vote, Butte-Silver Bow Commissioners again denied plans to demolish two buildings that belong to the Butte Rescue Mission.
The Butte Rescue Mission remains committed to operations, but if commissioners continue to shoot down the plan to demolish what used to be the Butte Rescue Mission Thrift Store, they are concerned about potential funding.
Bill McGladdery, President of the Butte Rescue Mission, says because commissioners and preservationists are prolonging the demolition of the thrift store buildings, donors have been pulling their donations which is the main source of funding for the mission.
"For this to fall back on the mission means less funding for the homeless services in Butte and more homeless people trying to survive on the streets," said McGladdery.
Opponents of the demolition say they don't want to be seen as villains, but McGladdery says the preservationists aren’t the only people with a voice.
"The homeless are also your constituents and I have thought do we just get the vans filled up today at the rescue mission and bring those constituents here so you can see who your decisions are impacting," said McGladdery.
Fixing the building could cost up to $500,000 which the Rescue mission doesn’t have. Right now, the liability is with the Rescue mission so if anything were to happen inside that building, they would be held accountable. Chief executive J.P. Gallagher says if Butte-Silver Bow were to buy the building, the building will still be dangerous, and the city would be held liable.
"Nobody in this community wants to see buildings taken down, but there’s times when it has to happen." said Gallagher.
Shawn Fredrickson, Butte-Silver Bow commissioner for District 1, says voting to approve the demolition would cause a dangerous precedent.
"I do worry that this is going to set some sort of precedent where the county is buying buildings to tear them down. It feels like that," said Fredrickson.
In a statement, Amy Kroon, Director of Development for the Butte Rescue Mission, writes "…our funding is being impacted by the decisions made regarding the thrift store. We wish to clarify that we are in no way threatening to decrease services and in fact we are continuing to plead with the community to support our services as we navigate this complicated and difficult situation."
There are no plans to sell the building right now. They are looking for offers that will address the abatement within 60 days and aren’t contingent on financing.