Holopaw church could be torn down

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - The Jesus Miracle Chapel could need its own miracle. 

Osceola County said demolition is a possibility if the Holopaw chapel continues to violate code. 

The chapel, which sits on Highway 192 about 30 miles from the beach, is still unfinished since Hurricane Charley hit it in 2004.

Lee Hoffman, the 89-year-old preacher who built it, said bringing it up to code would cost tens of thousands of dollars.

"They're going to tear Jesus' worship center down," Hoffman said.

The large sign is very familiar to drivers along Highway 192, the shortest route from the attractions to the beach.

What is not so noticeable is the empty shell of a chapel.

Osceola County said Hoffman had enough time to finish it.

Hoffman disagrees.

"Jesus, who hung on the cross and shed his blood for all of the commissioners, and the commissioners said you have to have it all finished and beautiful by February. Otherwise, we're going to have the bulldozers come in here and tear it all down," Hoffman said.

Hoffman says he was on track to complete the church before Hurricane Charley tore it down.

He said he was building the chapel with his life savings from the yacht and aluminum siding business he sold to go in to full-time ministry.

He said he did not have insurance.

"What am I supposed to tell the police officers, you can't come out here and pray anymore?" Hoffman said.

Hoffman says he's never taken any money for preaching.

"I don't take money, all I want are miracles. I'm afraid if I start taking money, I won't see so many miracles," Hoffman said.

A spokesperson for Osceola County said they cited the chapel for being unsafe last year.

There is no date for demolition, but a spokesperson said it is certainly a possibility if Hoffman does not bring the building into compliance.