NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM)--Efforts are underway to save a historic church in Northampton from being demolished. Community members are coming together to fight to keep what they feel is a landmark in the city.
The St. John Cantius church is over 100 years old. Built in 1913, residents in the city told Western Mass News the church is just too beautiful to tear down. That's why they started a petition with nearly 1,000 signatures to help keep it standing.
"We’re trying to stop the demolition," Elaine Jandu of Northampton said.
The St. John Cantius Church has sat on Hawley Street in Northampton for more than 100 years. The church is now in danger of being demolished.
"The architecture of this church is so gorgeous that how could you ever take a treasure of Northampton down this way it’s a landmark of Northampton," Jandu said.
The historic church closed in 2010. Now owned by the O’Connell Development Group, the company proposed to demolish the church and build condos in its place.
Their plans were recently denied by the Northampton Business Architecture Committee under the grounds that the design wouldn’t have the required first-floor space.
As new plans are in the works, the community is now stepping up to take matters into its own hands.
Jandu started a petition to save the church that has nearly 1,000 signatures. She told Western Mass News St. John Cantius is a landmark, especially to the Polish community.
"It was predominantly a Polish church and a lot of the immigrants that came joined their money together to build this church in 1913," she said.
City Councilor James Nash told Western Mass News he wants the church repurposed in some way that keeps the historic architecture and the internal designs intact.
"We’ve been through the pandemic and things are starting to revitalized downtown we think there’s a lot of good ideas that can go here that can be financially beneficial," Nash said.
One idea is to open the doors back so the community can use the space in one of the ways it was originally intended to be used.
"Ideally to have it be a venue a music venue would be amazing because the acoustics of the church it has barrel ceilings which make the acoustics wonderful," Nash said.
A rally is taking place Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. to help save the church. We reached out to the O'Connell Development Group but are still waiting to hear back.