An historic church in Iowa City is being demolished today (Thursday), completing the work Mother Nature started in April. A “Holy Thursday” tornado on April 13th nearly destroyed St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in downtown Iowa City. Parishoners gathered last night to say good-bye to the church.
Michelle Harney, who was married at St. Patrick?s, says last night’s service was sort of like a funeral for the building. “It’s been around for a long time, so it’s hard to see it go,” she says. Long-time church member Don Strand says it was hard to say good-bye. “Nobody feels good about it, but we’re just — we’ll just move on and we’ll have a new church,” said longtime parishioner Don Strand. “The church is the people, so we’ll just keep on keeping on,” Strand says.
The parish is looking for between 15 and 20 acres on the city’s east side to build a new church. The site of the old St. Pat’s will have a new owner, according to Father Rudy Juarez. “We are going to sell the land and we have several bidders…who have expressed interest anyway,” Juarez says. Appraisers say the land in downtown Iowa City is worth more than one-and-a-half million dollars. The land officially goes up for sale in the new year.