Community running out of time to preserve historic church in Argentine neighborhood

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Time is running out for a church in the Argentine neighborhood. It's stood for more than a century, but hasn't been in use for the past ten years.

At the corner of one of the busiest intersections in the Argentine neighborhood, St. John the Divine is a church rooted in history.

The Catholic church served its community for more than a century, finally closing its doors in 1992. Now the church will either face restoration or demolition.

Lisa Hernandez see's this dilapidated church every day. She lives across the street and once voted to tear down the building, but has since changed her mind.

"Since when do you have culture or history or heritage that has to have beauty to it. It's about people's feeling and what they went through," she said.

She remembers the church as a place where her dad took refuge during a time of racial divide.

"There's a little hot dog stand right down here across from the fire station. He remembers going in and buying a hot dog and was told you can buy it, but you have to eat it outside," Hernandez recalled.

Time is running out to save this building. The city hopes to make a decision by December 31 of this year.

It will take $125,000 to repair the structure.

"Total budget is half a million. The numbers the unified government is talking about is upward of 100k for demolition alone," said Daniel Serda, who is trying to save the church.

He is a part of the St. John the Divine Community Art and Education Center. The non-profit organization was started to raise funds to restore the church for community use.

Because parts of the roof are caving in, some residents are more concerned about safety and would prefer to see the eyesore torn down.

"At one point, it may collapse and hurt somebody," said Mario Escobar. He is the executive director of the Argentine Betterment Corporation.

But Hernandez has hope. So long as it's standing, there is still time to save it.