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Aug 3, 2017

Redevelopment of Historic Mexican-American Neighborhood in Phoenix Under Discussion

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A lone brick church standing on an empty swath of desert land is all that is left of a one-time thriving barrio in south Phoenix.

But now City of Phoenix officials are trying to redevelop the site which was for decades the home to the Golden Gate barrio.

The neighborhood, made up of some seven hundred small wood-frame and adobe homes, was levelled after Phoenix used eminent domain to acquire the properties and move the more than 6,000 residents to other parts of the city.

The reason for the mass acquisition was the fact that the barrio was too close to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

In wake of the demolitions, all that was left of the old neighborhood was the Sacred Heart Church at south 16th Street and E. Buckeye Road.

That church, built in the mid-1950s after Golden Gate barrio residents each purchased a brick for the structure, is now closed, but its doors are open every December for Christmas mass.

City of Phoenix officials are now negotiating with the non-profit Chicanos Por La Causa for a plan that would see a mixed-use redevelopment of the old barrio.

Although the future of the church, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has not been defined, Chicanos Por La Causa officials have said that they very much want it to be a part of the new redevelopment.

 

By Garry Boulard

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