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HGTV star speaks up to save Michigan church

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Nichole Curtis, of the building restoration show ‘Rehab Addict,’ would love to renovate Sacred Heart on her show.

In late January the citizens of Roseville, Michigan, were informed that the property on which stand the remains of the Catholic Community of Sacred Heart, a Roman Catholic church that has been closed for several years, could soon be sold to a developer who intends to demolish the now vacant building.

The Roseville community is split over the decision, with some considering it to be fortunate that a developer is taking an interest in the area, while others are horrified that such a historic landmark could be lost forever. Edward Strauss, a local artist whose studio faces Sacred Heart from across the street, told Syma Chowdhry of ABC news, “If they destroy that, they are destroying us.”

The development company intends to destroy just about all of the buildings currently on the property to replace them with storage units, while the front building, which faces the street, would be demolished in favor of new store fronts. The developer intends to preserve only the bell tower, which was built in the 1950s along with the main church building.

While the buildings are from the 20th century, the Community of Sacred Heart was established in 1861, leaving some to wonder why the site has not been protected as an historic landmark. Citizens of the town have made suggestions that the current buildings, which are perfectly habitable, could be perfect for a new community center.

Now, in a sudden burst of heroism, an HGTV personality has taken an interest in the matter. ABC’s Ali Hoxie reports that Nichole Curtis, star of HGTV’s Rehab Addict — in which Curtis hosts an informative show about building restoration — has traveled to Roseville in order to plead for the preservation of the historic church building.

Curtis had been searching for projects in Detroit to feature on her show when she heard about the proposed destruction of Sacred Heart, and she has now joined the effort to save the buildings. In an interview she gave in front of Sacred Heart, she told ABC:

“Someone sent me this church behind me saying ‘Nichole they’re going to demo it,’ and I was like ‘No this can’t be true!'” Curtis said. “We’re pleading to the owners, please contact us. We’d love to take it back from you or figure out another plan for it for mixed use. This is something where it’s crazy, because we’re here saving buildings and then in the city of Roseville they’re going to tear down this beautiful old church.”

The addition of a TV personality to the cause has residents who do not wish to see Sacred Heart disappear feeling hopeful. If Curtis can sway both the development company and the local government, it follows that she might then try to feature the remodeling of the facility on Rehab Addict, which could in turn give a new community-oriented development enough exposure to see it thrive.

The city of Roseville told ABC that Curtis had not formally reached out to them, but they also noted that the development company has not closed on the property yet. If the building’s fate is to indeed be demolished, it would be several months away. This leaves the HGTV star time to try to convince the city of the benefits that could come from the preservation of Sacred Heart. Whether she can succeed, only time will tell.

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