Steamboat Springs Father Ernest Bayer, of Holy Name Catholic Church, is inviting the community to a "big party."
The church is holding a fundraiser Aug. 9 at Saddleback Ranch, west of Steamboat Springs. But it's not your typical fundraiser, Bayer said. The church is billing the event as a FUNraiser, which will include games and activities for children and families, live music, a silent and live auction and dinner.
"Everyone's invited," Bayer said. "You don't have to be Catholic. You don't have to be a part of the parish. We just want everyone to come out and have a good time."
The event was designed to assist Holy Name in an ongoing effort to raise money for its project to expand the church, which occupies half a city block at Fifth and Oak streets. So far, Bayer said, $3 million of the $5 million project's first phase has been raised.
Bayer said the expansion would double the size of the existing church - built in 1964 and dedicated the following year - to meet the needs of the 500 to 600 families it serves throughout Routt County. And, Bayer added, the additional space is needed to accommodate second-home owners and tourists, who attend mass while visiting Steamboat.
"Steamboat has grown a bit since 1964, and so have we," he said.
The expansion will be west of the existing church building, which will become a gathering space. After entering the church and turning left, parishioners will enter the new nave, with seating for 578 people.
Bayer said the goal of the expansion was to blend it with the existing church. He said the new facility hopefully would last 100 years.
There will be some parking behind the new church, but most parishioner parking will be located on the street and across the street at the Routt County Courthouse, per an agreement the church reached with the county. Additional parking will be available behind Wells Fargo bank near Third Street.
Holy Name submitted a pre-application for the project last spring, said Bob Keenan, a Steamboat Springs senior planner. Public hearings before the Steamboat Springs Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Commission and City Council were held last summer and fall.
Keenan said the church's final development plan was submitted in December. Comments from the city's Technical Advisory Committee's review of the proposal were sent to Holy Name's architect in May.
Keenan said after the city receives a response from Greenwood Village-based Eidos Architects, public hearings for the proposal would be scheduled. He said they could occur as early as September or October.
A part of the plan that could come up during the public hearings is the church's desire to move three historic buildings, including the Good Shepherd House occupied by the Pregnancy Resource Center, located west of the existing church.
"Our community area plan encourages historic preservation," Keenan said. "There are guidelines to historic preservation and incentives to do so, but no regulations that prohibit (removing historic buildings) at this time."
Bayer said Holy Name considered including the three buildings as part of the expansion but chose not to create an alternative design.
"We're putting up a church to accommodate our 100-year-old family," he said about the church that started 102 years ago. "We feel the value of the parish family supercedes the value of any one building on the property."
Bayer said there has been some interest from individuals who would like to move the buildings to their property, but he's willing to listen to others. He said the preference would be for the buildings to be moved to different locations in Old Town.
If that wasn't possible, Bayer said, he would like the buildings to remain somewhere in Steamboat.
Holy Name hopes to complete its fundraising effort by next spring so the expansion could break ground in June 2010, Bayer said.
He said there is no time frame for the second and third phases of the project, which will cost a combined $5 million and add more offices; finish the basement as a community resource for weddings, meetings and other events; expand the preschool; and convert the current offices to a youth center for the church's middle school and high school ministries. Bayer said the church's first priority is expansion. He said the rest is for the future, for growth down the road. Bayer said Holy Name has an idea where it's going, but it's not there yet.
The FUNraiser kicks off at 2 p.m. Aug. 9. A short mass will be held at 4:30 p.m. with dinner, the silent and live auctions to follow, Bayer said. He said those who can't attend but would like to submit a sealed bid for any of the auction items can do so by calling the church.
For more information about the event, call Holy Name at 879-0671 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.