Historic Gilroy Church Requests Donations After Repair Costs Shoot Up

The Salvation Army of Gilroy is in need of financial donations after repair costs for its historic church more than doubled.

Repairs to the cracked steeple, leaky roof and damaged windows were expected to cost $85,000, but contractors updated the total cost to $200,000.

“We have no money for that. We have to do something quickly,” said Salvation Army Gilroy Captain Demetrio Villarreal.

Repairs at the Salvation Army-owned church at 200 W. 5th Street in Gilroy were expected to be completed by the end of October. But the Salvation Army says the leaks haven't been fixed, and they worry the church will take a major hit once a big storm hits comes.

The unexpected $115,000 dollar cost puts community programs provided by the organization at additional risk of being cut. The Salvation Army provides community programs including food pantry, housing assistance, weekly church service and holiday meals that would be in danger of cancellation if the building is damaged.

“I have to work hard to find the money in this community,” said Captain Villarreal. “No matter what I have to do, I will do it.”

A spokesperson with Salvation Army Regional headquarters in San Francisco says while donations will be a big help, the increased cost can be covered by reserved funds.

The Salvation Army adds it is "making progress" on submitting repair permits to the city. The church is deemed a "historic" building, so the organization must receive approval from the Gilroy Historic Heritage Committee before it can submit plans. 

The organization says no hard deadline has been set. The repairs could happen in a few days or a few months.

The Salvation Army purchased the center of worship 28 years ago, yet the church has been a neighborhood staple for more than a century. It was built in 1869 as the Gilroy Presbyterian Church, the second oldest Presbyterian church in California.

Donations can be made directly to the church by calling (408) 848-5373.

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