July 27, 2018
Save Notre Dame Alliance wins ... a photo contest
Toni Ostrow's 'Simply for Beauty' captures top prize in Roseland Residential Trust's 'This is Worcester' competition. Prize money has been donated to Alliance
July 27, 2018 - Worcester, MA -
When Worcester resident Toni Ostrow learned that Roseland Residential Trust, the developer of downtown Worcester's 145 Front at CitySquare luxury apartments, was sponsoring a "popular vote" photo contest with the theme "This is Worcester," she realized how ironic it would be if her photograph of the former Notre Dame des Canadiens church won the grand prize of $500. She is a founding member of the Save Notre Dame Alliance, and her photo has captured Roseland's top prize.
Roseland's apartments are located next to the historic Notre Dame building, which is now undergoing demolition. Hanover Insurance Group, which owns the former church, stands to make more money off the property with the building gone.
"My thought," says Ostrow, "was that a winning photo of Notre Dame would illustrate to Hanover and the city administration that this beautiful building does represent Worcester both in terms of its history and as a vision for its future - and not just in the eyes of the populace but also for Roseland, a company that has just made a multimillion dollar investment in downtown Worcester."
Ostrow entered the contest determined that, if the photo was a winner, she'd donate the award money to the Alliance, the group striving to save the building. She entitled her photo "Simply for Beauty" (shown, left).
The Alliance, whose members include a former Worcester city councilor, contractors, architects, area residents, and blue-collar and professional people, was quickly formed four months ago when the efforts of other preservationist groups to save the building were stymied. Alliance members have diligently attempted, through petitions, letters to the editor, opinion pieces, speeches to the City Council, many meetings, and art contests and exhibits, to get both the City of Worcester and Hanover Insurance, to sign on to economically viable and creative proposals to re-purpose the 1929 neo-Romanesque structure.
However, even with funded developers at the ready, Hanover has shut down all proposals from the outset. Members of the Alliance are now pursuing a legal resolution as it is apparent that Hanover has violated the law by misrepresenting the property's status on its applications to state and city agencies over the past several years.
The 145 Front at City Square photo contest's criteria stipulated that the 10 photos that gathered the most votes would be considered for the $500 award by Roseland's judge. At the contest's June 30 closing date, Ostrow's photo had received 129 votes, more than double the votes of the runners-up. Within a week she was notified that her Notre Dame "Simply for Beauty" photo was the prize winner.
"It illustrates the absurdity of the situation," Ostrow says. "The Notre Dame building is the very essence of the 'This is Worcester' contest theme - both in the opinion of the popular vote and in the opinion of the corporate developer/contest judge - yet the building is facing ongoing demolition."
Ostrow claimed the prize money last week, and has donated it to the Alliance via its GoFundMe page. She urges the many people who love the building and who want to help the group's efforts to donate as well.
For more information, contact Toni Ostrow at 508-723-2067 or [email redacted], or Alliance co-leader Ted Conna at 508-754-3374 or [email redacted].
Save Notre Dame Alliance is a made up of people who believe that great buildings make great cities, and who want to prevent the Notre Dame des Canadiens former church building from being completely torn down.
A successful redevelopment of Notre Dame will likely involve a combination of private investment, public funding, and philanthropic money to make this work - just as it did for Mechanics Hall, Union Station, The Hanover Theatre, and many other successful Worcester building redevelopments.
The situation in downtown Worcester is economically different - and better - than it was just a few years ago. This is why we think it's important to revisit the financial y feasible reuse of Notre Dame - and to save and preserve the building until that mission can be accomplished.
The Save Notre Dame Alliance is a group of Worcester citizens, voters and taxpayers who see Notre Dame as art - and believe that art can help save it. We have picked up the effort to save this former church - an architectural and historical crown jewel - from other groups that worked valiantly for the past two years to do so.
We are grateful to ArtsWorcester, the Sprinkler Factory, Worcester Center for Crafts, and 90.5 WICN for their collaboration and support for the art exhibition.
For more information on the Save Notre Dame Alliance, contact either Ted Conna at 508-754-3374 or 774-641-6396, and [email redacted], or Barbara Haller at 508-414-0266 and [email redacted].
- David Mathews
- Toni Ostrow
- Marilyn Butler
- KENNETH MARTIN
- Chris Wychorski