Pilgrim Collegiate Church to be torn down; hope for the Peck House

By Denise Dick



With no identified use and a hefty bill to restore it, Pilgrim Collegiate Church will be torn down.

There is hope, though, for the Peck House, another historic building on the Youngstown State University campus.

Gene Grilli, vice president for finance and administration, said the Peck House on Wick Avenue could be used by the English Language Institute, consolidating those services into one location. That would also produce a revenue stream for YSU.

“Our intent at this time is to deconstruct the church,” Grilli said.

After YSU announced in late 2010 plans to demolish both the Peck House and Thompson-Sacherman House, a committee formed with representatives from both the community and YSU to try to find alternative uses for those houses as well as the church. The committees also sought to find funding to repair the structures.

The Thompson-Sacherman House was torn down earlier this year.

Grilli said that the costs to restore the church are prohibitive and he told university trustees earlier this week that unless trustees directed otherwise, the church would be deconstructed, and any materials that can be reused will.

When the committee asked for proposals for uses for the three structures, only one proposal was submitted and that called for the funding to come from YSU through the issuance of bonds.

YSU bought the church, at the corner of Wick and Lincoln avenues, across from Jones Hall, in 2007. The university wanted to ensure the building wasn’t developed commercially.

Shannon Tirone, executive associate to the president, who was a member of the university-community committee, said the group met for about 18 months.

One idea was to repair the church to maintain it until a use could be determined.

“The cost to do that was astronomical,” Tirone said.

The roof must be replaced, and a portion of the building that had been added is separating from the rest of the church, she said. It’s also sustained water damage.

The church from which YSU bought the building, now Faith Community Church of Youngstown, reserved the right at the time of the sale to remove the stained-glass windows at its cost if the building were demolished.

Trustee Carole Weimer said the university spent sufficient time looking for uses for the building.

“It saddens many of us to see a beautiful historic building be demolished,” she said.

But the university can’t expend resources to restore it, particularly when no specific use has been identified, Weimer said.

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