Plans slow to rebuild Westport church after fire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Fire nearly destroyed the Westport Presbyterian Church more than two years ago, but negotiations are still taking place for the money to pay for reconstruction. It’s a reality that frustrates Reverend Scott Meyers.

Since 1835, the church stood on Westport Road with Prydes Westport across the street for 41 of those years.

"I was so worried for the church. I couldn't believe the devastation, " Louise Meyers, owner of Prydes said.

The singed stone and gutted rooms have marred the Westport skyline for more than two years and taken a toll at the Willow Woods Child Development Center that's connected to the church.

"It destabilized us as a business as an economic concern; we lost about half our enrollment," Chuck Gleason, board president, said.

But now reconstruction is underway. Contractors are removing debris and salvaging reusable stone. Reverend Myers said it's taken longer than expected to rebuild because they're waiting for more money.

"We are seeking to be made whole through a claim for all the damages. We are frustrated that the matter remains unresolved and seek to see it resolved as soon as possible," Rev. Meyers said.

According to the official report from Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms investigators, an AB May installer using a flaming torch accidentally caused the Dec. 30, 2011 fire. The estimated loss was $4 million.

AB May President Glen Posladek declined an on-camera interview but issued a statement, that read in part:

"AB May's insurance company is working with representatives from Westport Presbyterian Church, including their insurance company, to settle the loss.

AB May has continued to willingly cooperate to assist in the resolution of this process."

It’s a process Reverend Meyers is also anxious to resolve. He said it'll cost more than $13 million to rebuild.

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