Wayne Post
  • Crane moves closer to rebuilding

  • It’s almost a done deal.

    Mark’s Pizzeria founder Mark Crane, whose building was destroyed in the massive downtown fire on May 3, is in the process of purchasing the two neighboring buildings in anticipation of rebuilding.

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  • It’s almost a done deal.
    Mark’s Pizzeria founder Mark Crane, whose building was destroyed in the massive downtown fire on May 3, is in the process of purchasing the two neighboring buildings in anticipation of rebuilding.
    All three buildings were destroyed in the blaze when a mother of a 4-year-old allegedly tried to kill herself by setting a fire in her apartment. Crane, who started his highly successful pizzeria franchise in the village, lost many irreplaceable mementos in the blaze that spread quickly through the three canal-era structures. But he isn’t dwelling on the past. Instead, he’s looking to the future.
    “We’re moving forward trying to get possession of the properties,” he said of the pending purchase. “Things are looking good.”
    Crane said he intends to rebuild the pizzeria, but didn’t provide further details or plans for the property at this time.
    Mayor Chris Piccola said the Village Board couldn’t be happier about the news.
    “We think it’s great,” Piccola said on behalf of the entire board. “We’re glad to hear that at least one building owner intends to rebuild so it doesn’t become a useless property.”
    For now, however, the future is on hold as Crane waits for the official closing on the sale, and that puts the building demolition, expected be be a tricky undertaking, on hold.
    Demolition was anticipated by the end of June; however, until the purchase is complete, Crane said, the buildings won’t come down. He said he is working closely with the village and the state to get the buildings down. The entire business district, which includes the four buildings damaged in the fire, is in the National Register of Historic Places.
    Demolition is expected to be done by Frederico Construction and Demolition out of Rochester, Crane said. The buildings will be taken down in what is called a “hot demolition” — they will be knocked down in sections, the debris placed in containers and trucked to a landfill facility specializing in handling demolition material. Throughout the process, water will be sprayed on the buildings to keep dust at a minimum, and the air quality will be monitored constantly for safety.
    Piccola said he has been in contact with the demolition company and they told him that as soon as the closing on the properties takes place, they will put up fencing around the buildings. Unfortunately, people continue to duck under the current barricades blocking off the sidewalk, added Piccola, who fears for their safety. The demolition company also told him that when demolition occurs, Piccola said, they will install a chain link fence around the property. Demolition will take place from the back of the buildings so traffic down Main Street won’t be hampered, he added.
    Page 2 of 2 - The village hired a structural engineer from MRB Group to inspect the buildings, which were ultimately condemned on May 7. The fourth building, to the west of where the fire was started, sustained heavy water damage, but was not condemned. The village is “very concerned,” Piccola said, about the standing structures in light of the coming festivities in the village, including the Hill Cumorah Pageant, which begins July 12, and brings thousands of visitors to town each year.
    Crane said he is hopeful the closing will take place any day now so that he can begin clearing the site. In the meantime, Mark’s Pizzeria customers in the Palmyra area are not without their favorite foods. Crane has divided the area into four sections that allows the nearest Mark’s pizza shop location to deliver food to Palmyra-Macedon customers’ doors.
    As for the mother who allegedly started the fire, Christina L. Nicklaw, 29, formerly of 236 E. Main St., was indicted by a grand jury in June on charges of fourth-degree arson, a class E felony, fourth-degree criminal mischief, second-degree reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child, all of which are class A misdemeanors. Nicklaw allegedly set fire to a pile of sheets and blankets while her 4-year-old daughter was still in the apartment. The flames were doused, but fire investigators believe the smoldering blankets and sheets rekindled and the fire spread quickly, resulting in a massive blaze that drew firefighters from all over the region. Nicklaw awaits a possible trial unless a plea agreement is reached.

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