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Vermont Catholic church seeks demolition of former cathedral

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington is seeking per- mission to demolish a closed cathedral and a grove of trees in the downtown of Vermont’s largest city.

If the city grants permission to demolish the Immaculate Conception Church on Pine Street, an existing parking area would remain and the site would be left as an open lawn.

Burlington Zoning Division Manager Scott Gustin said the church applied last week for a permit to demolish the church, built in the 1970s after the original building was destroyed by an arson fire. It will be several months before a decision is made on whether to grant the permit.

Three years ago, the diocese said dwindling member- ship and finances forced the closure of the cathedral in the heart of downtown Burlington.

The Burlington Free Press reports that in an October letter to the city, Monsignor Peter Routhier outlined the plans for the site.

“The church building and the property on which it sits are being taken out of litur- gical use and so, in keeping with Canon Law, the Parish will be deconsecrating the property — changing it from a sacred space to a secular space,” Routhier’s letter said. “The deconsecration of the site will serve to help the Parish members cope with the loss of this Parish, cleanse the site, and prevent any future non-sacred use of the building.”

This building has been on the market for $8.5 million.

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