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Church Demolition Begins on Armitage Avenue

By Paul Biasco | October 12, 2012 4:36pm

LINCOLN PARK — Charlie Caffrey remembers hearing the choir of the famed Greater Little Rock The Lord Church from his storefront on Armitage Avenue.

Those Baptist hymns were last heard about three weeks ago.

To the dismay and surprise of small business owners along Armitage Avenue and residents of the one-way residential streets nearby, preparations for the demolition of the church began Thursday to make way for a three-story Walgreens.

"Progress is progress, but the church will be missed," said Charlie Caffrey, co-owner of McShane's Exchange, a consignment shop located a block from the building. "I would sit out there and listen to their music."

Workers Thursday set up scaffolding along Armitage in front of the boarded-up building, and will soon shut down the sidewalk and a number of parking spaces in front to prepare for the demolition.

Following an Oct. 1 meeting held by Ald. Michele Smith, the alderman's office posted information that shows basic plans for the structure of the Walgreens, but lacks details. Residents say their questions went unanswered by the developer during the meeting.

A timeline for the demolition has been set, with preparations to protect pedestrians and ready the sit for demolition running through Oct. 15, clearing out of the interior to take place from Oct. 17 through the 22, and the actual demolition Nov. 5 through Dec. 7.

"Obviously, it's going to hurt parking even more," Caffrey said.

Caffrey said, while his business, which had been on the block since 1981, won't be affected by Walgreens, a number of boutiques including a number of cosmetics retailers, would be hurt.

A spokesperson for Ald. Smith's office referred questions to the ward's website, which was updated with information regarding the development on Thursday.

"In order to make this a community-driven, transparent process, our office will constantly be updating this page with the newest information available," a statement from the alderman's office read.