Saving Sacred Heart

Nearly $17,000 grant boosts preservation effort

-Messenger file photo
Preservation-minded groups and individuals are striving to find a new use for the 102-year-old Sacred Heart Church at 211 S. 13th St.

It is hard to miss the tall steeple of the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which towers over the eastern edge of downtown Fort Dodge.

But the last Mass was celebrated there in 2019. The building’s interior is mostly empty. Some of its components were removed and incorporated into the new Holy Trinity Catholic Church on Sixth Avenue North.

Preservation-minded groups and individuals are striving to find a new use for the 102-year-old church at 211 S. 13th St.

They scored a success recently when the Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded a roughly $17,000 grant that will help to pay for hiring an architect to prepare a report outlining what must be done to preserve the building.

“Receiving this grant is just the next step to making the dream of Sacred Heart becoming a viable building a reality,” said Carissa Harvey, the chairwoman of the Fort Dodge Historic Preservation Commission.

The state agency awarded a $16,573 grant to the Historic Preservation Commission.

Local matching funds of $11,069 are needed.

The total cost of hiring someone to produce a historic structure report is estimated at $27,642.

The completed report will:

• Provide documentary, graphic and physical information on the building and its history.

• Prioritize needed improvements.

• Estimate costs of working on the building

• Identify potential sources of money for the project

According to Harvey, the finished report will be a “very important tool” when applying for grants to help pay for the restoration.

Although the grant was awarded to the Historic Preservation Commission, the building is owned by Holy Trinity Catholic Parish.

A new nonprofit, Preserve Fort Dodge, is leading the effort to raise money for the restoration of the church. A Sacred Heart Preservation Fund has been established with the Fort Dodge Community Foundation.

The church has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, a move which may open some more funding opportunities for the project.

How to help

Donations to help pay for preserving Sacred Heart Catholic Church can be sent to:

Fort Dodge Community Foundation

Sacred Heart Preservation Fund

24 N. Ninth St. Suite B

Fort Dodge, IA 50501


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