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City Council likely puts nail in coffin of Notre Dame preservation

June 13, 2018
Photo | Grant Welker
Photo | Grant Welker
The Notre Dame des Canadiens church.

Despite pleas from preservation groups, the Worcester City Council took no votes Tuesday on possibly acquiring the historic Notre Dame church and sparing it from the wrecking ball.

The Save Notre Dame Alliance - the principal group urging the preservation - asked the city to acquire the building and spend up to $15 million in public money to repurpose the building for city use as an event space, but councilors had an appetite for neither, according to City Hall spokesman Michael Vigneux.

The council's inaction comes less than a week after Mayor Joseph Petty in a press release said the city could find no feasible option to preserve the building, which is slated for demolition by City Square II, the redevelopment group led by The Hanover Insurance Group.

City councilors, Petty and City Manager Ed Augustus have met with Hanover's development team to try to come up with a scenario that doesn't include demolition of the church, but no solution was found, especially as the city looks toward school building projects costing upwards of $500 million.

The structure, built in 1929, has been vacant for more than a decade. It was sold to City Square II in 2010 to be part of a massive downtown revitalization project.

Hanover has been preparing the building for demolition for the past few weeks, and the building is expected to come down any day.