• Osceola County officials ponder action for derelict Jesus Miracle Chapel

    By: Michael Lopardi

    Updated:

    HOLOPAW, Fla. - Leaders in Osceola County may once again have to decide the future of the Jesus Miracle Chapel in Holopaw. 

    Not much has changed with the unfinished building more than a year after supporters pleaded with the county to hold off on demolition. 

    Officials said some cleanup work has happened at the site, but there’s still a significant amount of detritus on the property. 

    Inspectors also have concerns about the building, which is far from finished. 

    During a visit to the chapel Tuesday, Channel 9’s Michael Lopardi spotted a damaged entryway, missing roofing and a pile of debris. 

    “It’s gotten a little rougher with the graffiti and the things that are out there,” said Fred Hawkins Jr., Osceola County Commissioner. 

    Hawkins said a private attorney volunteered to help the owner, 92-year-old Lee Hoffman, remove liens so that repair work could begin, but has recently been able to reach Hoffman or his caretaker to finish the process. 

    “With these liens and these hurdles in front of us, we can’t go on and get anything done,” said Hawkins. 

    Last year, Hoffman shared his vision for the property with Channel 9. 

    “I come down here and I bought this piece of property here and I said I'm gonna build the Jesus Miracle Chapel,” said Hoffman.

    But the work was never completed. Construction stopped in 1998 and inspectors raised safety concerns in 2012. 

    The property is in a rural part of the county with very few neighbors, but it sits on a four-lane highway, offering drivers a constant reminder of its condition. 

    “If it becomes a public safety hazard, the county’s going to have to take action,” said Hawkins. 

    Hawkins initially asked commissioners to give the owner more time. But now he plans to bring up the issue at next Monday’s meeting, meaning the chapel may soon need a miracle of its own. 

    Next Up: