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KTEP Local

Sacred Heart Church on track for multimillion-dollar renovation

Sacred Heart Church
Aaron J. Montes
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Sacred Heart Church sits at the intersection of S. Oregon Street and E. 4th Avenue.

EL PASO, Texas (KTEP) - Sacred Heart Church an iconic place of worship in Downtown El Paso is in need of a major renovation, according to a group made up of Catholic Church leaders, elected officials, historians, architects and journalists.

The building, which sits in the historical Segundo Barrio community, has visible deterioration inside and outside of the church. Red bricks are splitting in half and atop the church, a large statue of Jesus is restrained with chords for safety.

Historian Max Grossman, who is a part of the group's executive committee, says repairs need to happen soon.

"If we wait much longer, the building will have to be demolished," Grossman said. "It won't survive. So, this is going to take a herculean effort on the part of my group to raise the money."

That's why the cohort of nearly 30 individuals is working to raise $3 million, which will go into a restoration of the building.

The church has not seen a renovation since 1929 when it got the iconic look it does today. Sacred Heart Church was built in 1893 by Jesuits from Italy. At the time, parishioners shared pennies and nickels to have the church built, Grossman said.

But today, it'll take more to fundraise enough to renovate the building. Grossman said the group he is working with has raised $500,000, half coming from the Partners for Sacred Places in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He also expects historical tax credits made possible by the area's newly formed historic district will free up an estimated $650,000 from the state. He says around 200 individual donations have also helped lift the group's fundraising.

But he hopes more will join the effort.

"There is hardly an El Pasoan who doesn't have a grandparent, a great grandparent, an uncle from the Segundo Barrio who hasn't attended a baptism there, a wedding, or a funeral," he said. "It is such an iconic building from so many standpoints and it needs our help."

To learn more about the effort to renovate Sacred Heart Church, visit restoresacredheartchurch.org.