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Future of Iconic Worcester Church Unknown

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    NEWSLETTERS

    City Square II is the urban renewal project bringing new business and new life to Worcester, Massachusetts. But the future of Notre Dame des Canadiens Church is unknown.

    (Published Thursday, March 30, 2017)

    Downtown Worcester, Massachusetts, is undergoing major revitalization, but the fate of an iconic church is up in the air. 

    CitySquare II is the urban renewal project bringing new business and new life to the city, but the future of Notre Dame des Canadiens Church is unknown. 

    "Five churches used to be on the common here in Worcester, this is the only one surviving," said Deborah Packard, the executive director of Preservation Worcester. 

    "A building like this is what makes our city unique," said Packard. 

    Development company CitySquare II bought the church in 2010 with hopes to reuse it. When those hopes fell through the company submitted a demolition permit. 

    The permit was delayed a year and as of April 15 the delay expires. 

    "We don't have any optimism as a city that that third party is purchasing it to save it," said City Councilor-at-Large Morris Bergman. 

    CitySquare II released a statement that says in part: 

    "We have made the realistic and most economically feasible choice to sell the property for the good of the continued transformation of Worcester." 

    Councilor Bergman said, "I think there's a lot of developers interested in property in Worcester." 

    Packard said the church, built in the 1920's, is a staple in downtown. 

    "We think it would be a real draw to tourist who may want to come into the city," she said. 

    Packard said Preservation Worcester has been working on redevelopment plans for a year but wasn't able to see the inside of the church until last month. 

    "We were not authorized to bring anyone in until February," she said. 

    CitySquare II said that's not true, stating the following: 

    "CitySquare II has spent significant time and energy meeting with and being responsive to Preservation Worcester, first touring the property over one year ago in March 2016." 

    Some folks who live in Worcester said they'd hate to see it go. 

    "Every time I've been in front of that church I get the goosebumps, in a good way," said Nathaniel Watson. "I could feel the good spirits coming out." 

    At this point, it may take a miracle to save the nearly century-old church from the wrecking ball. 

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