Our Lady of the Hills Church buys land for future growth

IRMO — Our Lady of the Hills Parish purchased 10 acres of land immediately to the left and to the back of its present property on Bush River Road near Interstate 20 on May 5. The church, which has 1,050 families, now has 15 acres of land on which it can build in the future. This is in addition to the former Timmerman School, now the Croghan Center, which is a half mile down the road from the church.

Last year, the Hoefer family, owners of the property adjacent to the church, decided to sell the land and entered into a contract with a developer in October. The parish believed that it had lost its opportunity to buy the property and would be land-locked on the 4.5 acres it owned. This limited the potential for growth, and could have eventually necessitated the relocation of the parish to a new site. In December, however, the developer canceled the contract with the Hoefers.

Father Robert Fix, pastor, met with the pastoral and finance councils to examine options. Based on current weekly collections, the Finance Council could not justify taking out a $270,000 mortgage. The only choice was to ask parishioners to help in a special way. In February, a parishwide meeting was held to share information. As a result, the church as a whole was given a goal to raise a minimum of $150,000 during the month of March. Close to $180,000 was collected in one-time, lump sum donations. With the additional help from the diocese for a five-year loan of $64,000, the land was purchased.

The Vision Statement at Our Lady of the Hills calls for the development of a parish center on the church property. With the acquisition of the new land, it will have space to build “for the future of our children” as the parish statement says.