Big Changes Expected For Sacred Heart Church In Phoenix

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 3:36pm
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The historic Sacred Heart Church near 16th Street and Buckeye Road in South Phoenix could reopen after a vote expected at the Phoenix City Council Wednesday night. It’s a move that has been a long time coming for many of the area’s residents who have kept the church open only on Christmas Day since it was closed due to eminent domain in the 1980s.

If you’ve ever driven by, you’ve seen the red brick mission-style church in the middle of quite literally nothing else — the 28 acres around it were bulldozed when the city bought the land for Sky Harbor International Airport’s expansion. But the church was spared thanks to a battle fought by its mainly Mexican-American parishioners.

But now, there’s a deal in the works to reopen the church, and potentially develop the land around it.

Last year, the Arizona Republic reported that the city council set off a heated debate after it approved a deal to allow development of the area with nonprofit Chicanos Por La Causa. Many residents wanted it reopened for its intended use, as a Catholic church.

Eventually, the Roman Catholic Diocese got involved and now, it looks like they might finally cement a plan tonight to do just that.

Father Paul Sullivan is the Pastor of the Sacred Heart Parish in Phoenix. The Show spoke with him earlier about the plan and why this church — this building — is so important to the people there.

In addition to reopening the church, Chicanos Por La Causa is working toward signing a lease with the city to develop the 32 acres of unused land around the church.

The Show got a hold of Nic Smith, vice president of real estate development for CPLC, to talk more about what their plans look like and what they’re hoping to achieve by developing this area of South Phoenix, which is already facing so much change.

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