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Fate of Church Damaged By Arson Unclear

Fate of Church Damaged By Arson Unclear Click to Enlarge Photo: Matt Demczyk (KNSI)

Sep 4, 2017 at 6:50 am

MELROSE, Minn. (AP) - Opinions are divided over whether a Catholic church built in 1898 in Melrose should be restored or rebuilt after an arson fire torched the interior.

The Church of St. Mary has been empty for 18 months since an arson fire heavily damaged the building.

The diocesan building commission didn't approve the parish council's plan to rebuild the church. Instead it recommended building a new church.

The diocese says the old church has many problems, including not being up to code, a lack of gathering space and accessibility issues.

A group of parishioners created a nonprofit called Friends to Restore St. Mary's.

They plan to file a lawsuit against the diocese and St. Cloud Bishop Donald Kettler to stop the church from being demolished.

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