Demolished soon

Two buildings belonging to Sacred Heart Church, including this one, will be demolished soon, following action by the Rockport City Council. It has been more than three years since Hurricane Harvey rendered the structures useless. The Corpus Christi Diocese is one of the first to take advantage of a decision, after a lawsuit, which allowed churches to apply for FEMA funding.

The Rockport City Council, at its special meeting Tuesday, Dec. 15, approved a Heritage District Certificate of Appropriateness Application (demolition) submitted for 114 N. Church St. and 213 S. Church St., which are two structures belonging to Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Marshall Company, LTD, on behalf of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, submitted the application for demolition of the Parish Hall and Center.

The two structures were heavily damaged by Hurricane Harvey, and have sat empty since the storm. The primary reason the structures weren’t demolished earlier is the Catholic Diocese chose to work through FEMA, after a lawsuit determined churches could apply for FEMA funds.

Since the buildings are located in the Rockport Heritage District (RHD), the RHD board must approve the demolition, which then must be approved by council.

(Note: The council is currently serving as the RDD board.)

In making the recommendation to approve the demolition, Community Planner Amanda Torres said, “(Both structures) have been in serious disrepair since Harvey.”

Neither structure has the potential to be historic.

City Manager Kevin Carruth said the city has worked with the Diocese for a couple of years.

“Part of the delay was the Diocese took advantage of FEMA funding after the lawsuit,” he said. “Sacred Heart was one of the first (churches) to take advantage of the program.”

Carruth said Tuesday’s special meeting was called because the Diocese is ready to go.

“We don’t want to stand in the way (of the demolition),” he said.

Mayor Pat Rios noted the city has received many complaints about the buildings since the storm based on health and safety concerns.

Torres noted she just received the application, and the council didn’t have copies of the document.

Rios said the council couldn’t approve it without reviewing it, and called for a recess in the meeting.

Copies were emailed to council members for their review.

Upon review, they approved the application, pending Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey’s signature.

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