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Knights of Columbus still vacant, almost seven years since fire

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Some who love Utica's rich architectural history fear that one of the city's oldest, grandest homes could be lost if the current owner doesn't put some money and life back into it or sell it to someone will.

What most know as the Knights of Columbus building at 307 Genesee Street in Utica was a home built by Charles Yates in 1867.

In 1917, a gymnasium was added on to the back of the building.

Many downtown Utica businessmen and politicians can remember playing basketball there in the 1990s and turn of the century.

Fire struck the gym in 2006 and re-habbing the entire building up to historic standards simply isn't financially feasible for most. A former county historian says, it shouldn't have to be.

"95% plus in my opinion of the historic value is in the original home in the front, not the tacked on gymnasium that was on there, which would be wonderful to save if it wasn't burned out, if it had a practical use, if it wasn't tremendous operating cost that would make it unappealing for anybody to do anything with it," says Kevin Marken.

"307 Genesee Street, LLC," out of Massachusetts, currently owns the building. NEWSChannel 2 was unable to contact them on Tuesday.

The city assessor's office says the corporate owner owes $2,641.73 in city taxes from last year and $1,541.59 in school taxes from last year.

Tuesday is the last day to pay, without penalty, current taxes which are $915.25 and $237 in solid waste fees.

NEWSChannel 2 has calls out to city officials and the State Office of Historic Preservation as well.

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