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A Beatrice building nearing 100 years old is being demolished to make way for green space.

The Masonic Lodge at Sixth and Grant streets is being demolished by Tiemann Construction.

The building and lot are owned by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Father Robert Barnhill said that contrary to speculation, the lot will not be used for additional parking.

“The current parking is sufficient so there will be no additional parking,” he said. “It will be landscaping just to beautify the area. It’s a prominent corner with the post office and courthouse, which has beautiful landscaping. It will be for curb appeal.”

Construction workers speculated it will take around one week to clean the area once structure is down.

The building has been unused since the Masonic Lodge #26 built a new location at Seventh and Ella streets. The new building is smaller, and lodge officials said at the time of construction it would better fit the group’s needs.

The 4,000 square foot building being demolished was used by the Masons for 85 years before the group relocated.

Barnhill said the planned transition was years in the making and took fundraising efforts by the church.

“It wasn’t donated, the land was purchased,” he said. “It took planning to get funding and after five years to have the funding again for demolition… They’re going to do demolition on Friday and basically the building will fall into the basement.”

Barnhill added the building was a Christian church when built in the 1920s before the Masons took possession of it.

The demolition is the latest project of St. Joseph’s to enhance the block its located on.

New playground equipment was installed in 2016 on the northeast corner of the block on the site of a former convent associated with the church that was torn down in September 2015.

The church sold the property in 1978, but purchased it again in 2012 for $90,000 -- with the help of a $60,000 loan from the Diocese of Lincoln -- in preparation for the demolition.

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Reach Scott Koperski at scott.koperski@beatricedailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottKoperski.

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