HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It's an issue Western Mass News has been following: a church in Holyoke was deemed unsafe by the city in February.

Now, eight months later, people in the community want to know what's being done to fix the issue.

A fence is surrounding the church right now in efforts to keep the neighborhood safe, but people we spoke with say that it's causing a major road block.

"Look how tall it is. It's falling apart. You never know what could happen any day," Holyoke resident Carlos Rivera tells us.

Carlos lives along Appleton Street in Holyoke, the same street that the Iglesia El Dios Incomparable Church sits, but after a piece of the steeple fell off in February, the city had to step in.

They required the church to fence off the area, consequently closing the road.

"This street has been closed for a long time. Really, we need this street. It's a shortcut to get to the other street quickly, so it's been a problem. The traffic is getting worse and worse," explained Rivera.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse tells Western Mass News they are fully aware of the problem and are doing everything they can to fix it.

"I know, for the city's part, our main interest is to make sure people in the neighborhood are safe. I know it's a short term hassle for a street to be closed and part of a sidewalk to be closed, but those decisions are made with the interest of the public at heart," stated Mayor Morse.

And with safety as the city's top priority, they have worked closely with the church to find a solution to the problem.

"Leaders at the church and the congregation came together to raise money to do the repair, but unfortunately, it's an expensive repair and the church has decided to put it on the market," continued Mayor Morse.

He says until any sale is final, they will continue to work with the church to accelerate the process.

"With anything, there needs to be a schedule. We need to do what we can to incentivize progress here. We don't want to see a city street closed for the foreseeable future," added Mayor Morse.

As for the status of the sale of the building, we have reached out to the church for comment and have not heard back.

Mayor Morse tells us they have a meeting scheduled for October 18 to further address the issue.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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