The First Baptist Church on William Street in New Bedford received a special designation this week that could save the structure for years to come.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the church a National Treasure, making the building more eligible for private and public donations for repairs and renovations.

Alicia Leuba, field director for the National Trust, tells WBSM News the church may be more appealing to potential donors because it can serve in several capacities, including a partnership with Your Theatre Company. "So we seem to think there's a wonderful opportunity to talk about how innovative, new uses can help bring back a church that has some structural and physical needs," said Leuba.

The Waterfront Historic Area League will help with grant writing for restoration efforts. It's not known how much it will cost to restore the church.