- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The president of the Philadelphia City Council is calling on the archdiocese of Philadelphia to hold off on plans to demolish a 19th century church until Vatican officials respond to parishioners’ request to intervene.

The archdiocese says it would cost nearly $3.5 million to restore Saint Laurentius church in the Fishtown neighborhood. It was closed a year ago after officials said portions of the building were in danger of collapse.

Council president Darrell Clarke said Tuesday that he was disappointed by the demolition decision and had hoped that “all avenues toward preservation of this beautiful and sacred building would first be exhausted.”

Parishioners say the church erected in the late 1880s was the first Polish Roman Catholic church in the city. They say restoring the structure would cost only $700,000.

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