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Historic south Phoenix church to be revived

The Diocese of Phoenix has reached a deal with the city to restore a historic church as a place of worship.

The Rev. Paul Sullivan, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, said in a statement Wednesday that the decades-old Sacred Heart Church will be restored.

The city had been in exclusive talks with nonprofit Chicanos Por La Causa about development, causing some to worry about the building's future.

Sullivan says Chicanos Por La Causa will work with the diocese to promote collaboration among various members of the community.

Sullivan says the goal is to make the church a place of "unity and pride."

The church, located near 16th Street and Buckeye, shut its doors more than 30 years ago. The lot sits empty and no one visits the church, except when it opens for Christmas.

The City of Phoenix bought land in the area for the expansion of Sky Harbor. Around that time, thousands of residents were forced to leave - forcing the church to go vacant.

The Phoenix City Council voted yesterday to reopen the church, and people in south Phoenix are excited to get back a historic part of their community.

"I wanted it saved and preserved," says resident Gloria Padilla. "I'm glad it's still standing after so many years."