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Grassroots Group Urges Council To Save Landmark

The roof of the Cahill building has begun to collapse in some areas

The roof of the Cahill building has begun to collapse in some areas

OSWEGO, NY – At the first Common Council meeting of the new year, Mercedes Niess continued to drive home the importance of caring for the former Cahill building.

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The roof of the Cahill building has begun to collapse in some areas

Last month, she shared a petition with more than 140 signatures “of people who want to urge the council to do whatever you can to care for that building.” This week she presented more to the council. The total now stands at more than 600.

The petitioners want the city to secure the building and prevent further damage.

They include city residents, city property owners, business owners and others, she said.

“Furthermore, we ask that you do all that you can to seek out a developer that will preserve and restore this historic National Register of Historic Places building,” she said. “These signatures reflect the community’s desire to not only maintain the Cahill building but also the historic character of Oswego.

The group was pleased that a tarp has been placed over the roof of the building. But, also expressed dismay that it took so long for the city to take any action regarding safeguarding the historic site, she added.

“As one of the oldest structures in our city, it is an important part of Oswego’s history and is an asset to our cultural heritage,” she continued. “We certainly do appreciate all that you folks do. But we do feel that once this building is preserved and restored, it will become a huge asset to our waterfront and to the quality of life of our community.”

The city has a 20-20 plan and a waterfront revitalization plan that need to be moved forward on a yearly basis, she noted.

She urged the council to do what needs to be done to move the city into the future, without losing its character.

“We also wondered, how did this building get to this point? We are not only concerned about this property, but other sites as well. We ask that the city create and follow through on plans to restore this building right here and other such sites so they won’t follow the path of the Cahill building,” Niess said.

The building is currently the center of litigation, Seventh Ward Councilor Ron Kaplewicz pointed out.

A judge will decide exactly where the city stands with respect to the Cahill building, he said.