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Windsor moves forward on plans to take over, demolish ‘dangerous’ buildings

  • Emmet Moeykens, 16, of Windsor, walks home past a building on Maple Street that has been deemed unsafe by the Vermont Division of Fire Safety in Windsor, Vt., Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Moeykens' parents, who can see the back of the building from their home on Lowell Street, reported to the town last winter when they noticed the roof had fallen in under the weight of snow.(Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The roof of a former dry cleaning business on Maple Street in Windsor, Vt., seen on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, collapsed under the weight of snow last winter and the Vermont Division of Fire Safety has labeled the building as unsafe. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • A building, at right, on River Street in Windsor, Vt., seen on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, was damaged in a fire about ten years ago and has a failing roof. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 12/11/2019 10:25:01 PM
Modified: 12/12/2019 9:40:36 PM

WINDSOR — The Selectboard has authorized Town Manager Tom Marsh to negotiate the town’s efforts to take over two heavily damaged downtown buildings, the next step in a plan to demolish the dilapidated structures.

One building, on Maple Street, is a former dry cleaning business that went bankrupt and closed about two years ago, Marsh said. The second structure, on River Street, sustained considerable damage in a fire about 10 years ago. The roofs have failed on both buildings, causing significant interior damage. Neither building is considered salvageable.

“No one wants the buildings,” Marsh said.

One of the reasons the properties require demolition is their proximity to other structures. The former dry cleaning building is in a residential area with a detached smokestack, and the back of the River Street building abuts the outdoor area for the Welcome Center.

The process for taking possession of the buildings first requires a phase I environmental assessment — a review of past environmental assessments to see if there were any actions taken on environmental issues.

“It is purely paperwork,” he said.

The town will work with the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission to draw up the agreements to transfer both properties. Once that is complete, the town will seek bids for demolition, which is expected to cost at least $15,000 for each building.

The timeline before demolition begins is not known at this point.

Once the structures are cleared out, the town could try to sell the empty lots.

Marsh said the Maple Street property likely has little to no resale value, but there is a possibility they could sell the River Street parcel.

The funding for the work could possibly come from a bond approved by voters, but that would have to be approved by the Selectboard.

At Town Meeting last March, voters approved a warning article that allows the town to bond up to $1 million over 20 years for the purpose of “acquiring, removing and/or improving blighted properties.”

“This is a public safety issue,” Marsh said.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.




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