The Rochester City Zoning Board received 444 signatures on petitions to save the historic church on West Main Street.
But the developer fought to demolish the building on Thursday.
"My home is 134 years old, it was owned by a cousin of President Hayes," said Stacie Colaprete.
Colaprete lives on West Main Street - where she witnessed revitalization.
She is now is fighting to stop a Dollar General store from moving in and the church from coming down.
"There are so many things happening on west main street that I really feel like this is a step backwards," said Colaprete.
73-year old Vivian Moss lives across the street.
"I don't want to look out my door and see a Dollar General over there," said Vivian Moss, a neighbor.
These two women were among more than a dozen that told the Rochester zoning board to save the 140-year old church.
It's a local historic landmark.
"I am here to prove show and support that this is not a building of historic value," said Marvin Maye to the Rochester City Zoning Board.
Developer Marvin Maye says it will cost $1.3 to $1.8 million dollars to restore the church and that's before getting a tenant in the building.
His shopping plaza that would include Dollar General would cost about $1.4 million.
Maye also said nothing is set in stone with the retailer until other approvals are met.
"When I purchased this property whole idea was to make a retail center," said Maye.
He said he reached out to other retailers and restaurants but many didn't want to come into the neighborhood.
Maye and other supporters say it brings jobs and shopping to a disadvantaged area.
The Landmark Society and other neighborhood associations disagree.
"You can see how the crumbling is going all down in here, it goes all the way around the whole building," said Maye as he peeled off paint from the outside of the West Main Street church.
On the inside, there are signs of damage.
Maye pointed them out.
Roofing issues have led to warped floors, many of the pews are gone and vandals have done damage.
"This is a building that is going to have to come down because of what has happened to it. It's not that I created it, it's because they allowed it to get this way. It's going to come down and its my property and my decision to decide as long as I am meeting code," said Maye.
While many neighbors disagree, he's convinced he's doing what's right for the neighborhood.
That's for the zoning board to decide.