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Plans in place to memorialize Worcester's Notre Dame church

September 13, 2018
Photo/Grant Welker
Photo/Grant Welker
Crews, at top, have been slowly taking down the bell tower of the vacant Notre Dame des Canadiens church in Worcester in recent weeks.

Worcester's Notre Dame des Canadiens church is still standing, yet is slowly being taken apart.

Its stained glass windows are gone, and in recent weeks crews have been taking down the long-vacant church's bell tower.

But plans are in place to memorialize the church, City Manager Edward Augustus said Wednesday, including finding a new place to display 3,500-pound the church bell. The city will hold the bell in storage until a fitting location can be found.

CitySquare II, the developers of the site affiliated with Hanover Insurance Group in Worcester, have committed $10,000 toward a display for the bell and will give land on what's called Parcel F, the open space on Front Street across from the AC Hotel ultimately envisioned for a new building of up to eight stories and 200,000 square feet.

CitySquare II said the memorial will also pay homage the city's past French-Canadian immigrants who built Notre Dame church and to the city's present immigrant population.

"This is an important part of our history," Augustus told the City Council during its Wednesday meeting.

Preservation advocates have been working to save the 89-year-old church building, including filing an injunction in court, but CitySquare II has moved forward with plans for new development there. One plan has included a new 84-unit apartment building on the site.