A historic church is in jeopardy of severe damage once El Niño hits.
The Salvation Army-owned church at 200 W. 5th Street in Gilroy has cracks in the steeple, a leaky roof, and window damage which organization leaders recognized a couple months ago.
Repairs totaling $85,000 have started and 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.
“My concern right now is El Niño," said Captain Demetrio Villarreal of the Salvation Army Gilroy Corps. "We would like to do this as soon as possible before the real rain starts, so I don’t want the building to be more damaged than it has been so far."
“I can’t imagine what would happen if something bad happens because maybe I’ll have to stop some programs," he said.
The Salvation Army provides community programs including food pantry, housing assistance and weekly church service that would be in danger of cancellation if the building is damaged.
A spokesperson with Salvation Army Regional headquarters in San Francisco says repairs began before the organization realized additional clearance was needed by the City of Gilroy. They are working with the city now to make sure the repairs meet requirements for historic building projects.
The organization says no hard deadline has been set. The repairs could happen in a few days or a few months.
Yet the city of Gilroy says it has not yet received the architectural and site application needed from the owner of the church for the proposed material change to the steeple.
Gilroy spokesperson Joe Kline says once that application is received, they will expeditiously process the application.
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.