RIO LINDA (CBS13) — Sacramento County leaders have agreed to purchase a Rio Linda church and immediately tear it down.
Pastor Bob Royer remembers exactly how high floodwaters inundated his church in 1995.
“We had to replace the whole platform,” Royer said. “We got 42 inches of water back then”
And in 2017 flooding soaked the sanctuary again. In fact, the First Apostolic Church of Rio Linda has flooded more than 10 times over the last few decades, and Royer knows what to do when the water levels rise.
“We pick up things that can’t be replaced,” he said.
Built in 1972, the church sits across from Dry Creek in a floodplain not suitable for new construction, so the congregation has agreed to sell the property to Sacramento County, which plans to tear the church down.
Royer said it will be a difficult day. He lives on the property with his wife and raised three kids there.
“It’s been our life, and then when it’s no longer going to be our life, that’s going to be a hard time,” Royer said.
It will cost $1.2 million to purchase the land and demolish the church with most of the money coming from a FEMA grant designed to remove buildings that suffer repetitive flooding.
“It would just be better financially for us to purchase the property, turn it into a green space, and use it as a way to alleviate flooding in other areas,” said Matt Robinson with Sacramento County Water Resources.
Royer plans to retire once the church is demolished. He’s still looking to relocate the congregation somewhere in the community, but there’s not enough money to rebuild a new church from scratch.
“We’re going to be moving on, we’re going to get another building, and I think it’s going to be a good thing,” Royer said.
The church also looked into elevating or moving the structure, but those ideas were not financially feasible.