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75% progress seen on rehab of ex-church

Roofing and window repairs on the former Transfiguration Catholic Church are about 75 percent complete, and efforts are under way to obtain government funding for interior renovations, the principals of the effort said Wednesday.

Court proceedings involving the 19th century structure were delayed again Wednesday.

Paula Nowak, a retired special investigator for the federal Government Accountability Office in Washington, D.C., and her son, Buffalo attorney William F. Trezevant, said the repair work is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

City Judge E. Jeannette Ogden approved Trezevant's request to delay until Dec. 12 further court proceedings in the long-running Housing Court case over the former Sycamore Street eyesore after saying he expects landscaping and grounds work to be completed by then.

Nowak and Trezevant declined to comment on which state agency is being asked for funds.

The family's nonprofit Francis Associates bought the church in the 900 block of Sycamore from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo for $7,000 almost a decade and a half ago and ended up in Housing Court after the building was cited for numerous structural problems.

Thanks to the intervention of Senior Deputy Corporation Counsel David Rodriguez, the long-stalled project was pushed forward several months ago, with Trezevant obtaining all the required city permits.

On Oct. 10, Ogden quashed a long-standing Housing Court warrant for the arrest of Nowak.

Nowak said plans are under way for a commemorative "Pathway of Honors" in brick for the front of the building, which will be open to individuals and corporations.

Trezevant and Nowak long ago renamed the church, one of the last Eastern European Gothic-style buildings in the city, as the Sounds of Joy building, with plans to turn it into a community center, depending on local redevelopment.

Transfiguration was closed by the diocese in 1993 because its parish enrollment had declined sharply.


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