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Archdiocese of Seattle decrees closure and demolition of nearly century-old Tacoma church

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TACOMA, WA - An almost century old church in Tacoma is facing demolition, however some people are fighting to keep it standing.

Last fall, a large piece of sheetrock fell inside the Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

The Archdiocese of Seattle closed the church for safety inspections. Officials with the archdiocese say they found a lot of other issues with the church.

To fix everything and make it safe for people to go back inside would cost about $18 million dollars, officials said.

For the last couple of months, a group called Save Tacoma’s Landmark Church have been working to raise the money.

Saturday, parishioners at the church discovered the fate of the century-old structure.

In a letter, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain decided to permanently close and demolish the church.

In part, the letter states, “With deep sadness, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain issued a decree to permanently close the Holy Rosary church building in Tacoma. The Holy Rosary parish will continue, celebrating its liturgy in the school auditorium”

“What doesn’t make sense to me and doesn’t make sense to a lot of people is, how is this even his decision; how do we not get to try?” said Jonathan Carp a member of the group Save Tacoma’s Landmark Church

However, Archdiocese officials say the decision has to do with more than just the cost to repair the church.

“The real issue is, can this church community continue to thrive and maintain the building moving forward,” said Helen McClenahan Managing Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Seattle.

McClenahan says over the years the parishioner numbers at the church have dwindled.

She says, unfortunately, the best option for the derelict building seems to be demolition.

“Very difficult decisions; very sad. No one wants to close churches,” she said.

McClenahan says there is no date determined for when demolition would start. She says there is a ten-day window of time for people to write to the archbishop.

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