WICHITA WILDLIFE REFUGE, OK (KSWO) - The Holy City of the Wichitas is in danger of closing and needs your help restoring and revitalizing the landmark, that was built in 1935.
There's no running water and the bathrooms don't work.The water lines are also in bad shape and half of the lights used for the annual Easter show no longer work. Supporters of the Holy City started a GoFund me page to raise money for repairs.
They need about $150,000 to restore the Holy City and get it back on track. The attraction relies on donations and money from the gift shop. Without it, people who love the Holy City fear it will continue to crumble.
Skip Hamill has been involved with the Holy City of the Wichitas for 18 years. He said the water lines are the worst problem. They're more than 70 years old, a mile and a half long, and have out lived their life span.
"We have breakage, we have blockages, we can not find them yet, we are at the mercy of the unknown if you so to speak. We got to get it repaired," said Hamill.
Caretaker Denna Dolch said it's been frustrating not having running water.
"It's been a challenge. We are having to send everyone 3 miles down the road to use the restroom and with people traveling and when they get out of their car the first thing they want to do is use the restroom, so having to tell everyone that we have no restrooms, no running water anywhere it's been hard," said Dolch.
Each year the Holy City puts on the nation's longest running outdoor Easter Passion Play, "The Prince of Peace". Hundreds come to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge every spring to see it. The underground electrical wiring system needs to be replaced.
"We have 140 circuits available to us and currently 62 are not working due to animals we never know it could be gophers or wear and tear on the circuits over a period of years they are about 40 to 50 years old," said Hamill.
The Holy City doesn't receive any funding from the state so donations from individuals are crucial to help with repairs.
"That's the deciding factor on if we stay open or not. We need everyone's help to keep us going. It's such a beautiful place and without everyone's help we are not going to be able to keep it going, keep it open," said Dolch.
Hamill said closing their doors would be devastating.
"The facility draws it to them they fall in love with it and we would like to simply maintain it as it was given to us we would like to make it better when we leave," said Hamill.
Hamill says they have applied for grants and are also accepting donations. They have a GoFundMe page set up. If you'd like to make a donation in person, go to the at the Salt Cellar in Lawton.