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"
Click here to download this image in JPEG format at 200 dots per inch.
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
. She urges the many people who love the building and who want to help the group's efforts to donate as well.
To view the Allliance's "Show us your Notre Dame" art exhibit,
To "like" and share the Alliance's Facebook page,