By Nathan Duke
Neighbors of the property received a notification early last week which advised residents that Maspeth's Expedite This had been retained by Maspeth Development LLC, owner of the church's property, to obtain demolition permits for the site.According to the notification, demolition would take place within five days of the notice and was scheduled to be performed by Always Fast Inc., located at 58-19 Maspeth Ave. Javier Marsico, of Expedite This, said there was no set date for the building to be knocked down, but he expected it would happen by the end of January.Community activists said they were upset to hear that their two-year fight to save the structure, located on 57th Road at Rust Street in Maspeth, could end within a week. But Christina Wilkinson, of the Juniper Park Civic Association, said the community would still attempt to save the land on which the church sits.”We've expected that the developer would want to knock the church down,” she said. “It's been his plan all along, so it doesn't come as a surprise. But we won't give up if the church is demolished. The land has ties with our neighborhood's history.”The civic has said that saving the land at the property was more important than protecting the church. Community activists have proposed using the property as a community park or to how a museum or cultural center.The city's Buildings Department said the developer had not yet filed a permit to demolish the building. The developer, who is based in Richmond Hill, could not be reached for comment.The civic filed a lawsuit against the developer in 2006 on the grounds that James Maurice's 1878 deed for the property limits its usage to church or community use. The State Supreme Court later overturned a restraining order that prevented demolition at the site.The developer removed 185 trees, many of which were between 60 and 100 years old, on the property last summer and contracted Always Fast Inc. to demolish the site's parsonage in December.The DOB issued a violation to the developer on Dec. 12 after the contractor was found to be razing the parsonage with motorized mechanical equipment, breaking the rules of a permit issue in November which stipulated that the building could only be knocked down with hand tools in a floor-by-floor sequential manner.In early December, the developer withdrew an application to change zoning at the property from manufacturing to residential, but no further development plans have been proposed, a spokeswoman for the Department of City Planning said.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.