Updated June 17, 11:05 p.m.–
A pair of vacant homes with boarded up windows, peeling exterior paint, and an overgrown yard. The sight has plagued a heavily-trafficked section of Old Auburn Road near Sylvan Corners for too long, but things have been changing since a local church purchased the homes in October of last year.
“We’re fixing things up,” said Angel Nolasco, pastor of a Spanish-speaking Pentecostal church tucked behind the two homes, with access from Auburn Boulevard behind Gilberto’s Tacos. Nolasco said his congregation has about 100 attendees on Sundays and members have been helping fix up the property for the past few months — slowly chopping away overgrown vegetation and recently putting a new coat of paint on one of the houses.
He said boards were put up on windows after the prior owner passed away and the homes, located at 7541 and 7545 Old Auburn Road, became an attraction for homeless activity and trespassing issues.
In addition to fixing up the two homes, the pastor is also hopeful to make the property home to a new church building for his congregation, Mission Rock of Salvation.
“It will be great for the community,” said Nolasco, who is planning to pave a large section of the property for parking and add as large a church building as the city will allow in the middle. “We’re upgrading the whole area.”
He said the two existing homes will be used for church caretakers to live in, with one home listed in property records as 850-square-feet in size and the other just over 1,000 square feet. Sacramento County property records do not list a build date for the homes, but an “effective year” is listed as 1915 for one home and 1932 for the other.
The nearby area is home to other old buildings and pieces of Citrus Heights history, including the old “Friends Church” building located a block away that bears a historical plaque outside with a construction date listed of 1921.
Citrus Heights History and Arts Commissioner Larry Fritz told The Sentinel the two homes purchased by Nolasco’s ministry are located on what was originally known as Aiston Ranch. He said the Aiston family sold the property to the Trainor-Desmond Company, who then subdivided the land in 1910 and named the area “Citrus Heights.”
The two homes were eventually purchased by the Rohland family, who have a long history in Citrus Heights. Commissioner Fritz said a 1960 phone directory lists one of the homes as the address of Duke Rohland, who was president and manager of Sylvan Lumber.
The lumber company was located around the corner at 7200 Auburn Blvd., where Sylvan Supply Fabrication currently operates, and bordered the back of Rohland’s home. Fritz said that meant Rohland and his wife, the company’s bookkeeper, “could walk to work through their back yard and keep an eye on their business at night.”
The homes remained in the Rohland family name until being acquired by the church last year.
Renovation of the two homes is expected to be completed within several months and Pastor Nolasco said he is hopeful the new church building will be completed on site by the end of next year.
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