Letter to the editor: Beacon Falls can’t afford demolition

It is distressing to find that the Beacon Falls Board of Selectmen, at their December 13th meeting, voted 2 to 1, along party lines, to “IMMEDIATELY” tear down the town-owned historical residence at 35 Wolfe Avenue known as the Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company’s Tracy Lewis House.

What is most disturbing is the oversight of the financing involved. One contractor’s estimate for the demolition is $70,000.00 plus asbestos removal costs. No costs for the demolition appear in the voter approved town budget and any new town expenses exceeding $20,000.00 requires a town meeting or referendum vote. Where will this kind of money come from? Is this a good use of taxpayer’s funds?

After demolition the town will have invested more than $400,000.00 to create a vacant lot worth perhaps just half of that. And there is no approved plan of what to do with the resulting vacant lot. It is, however, expected that at some future date a small group, with their own agenda, will then propose building a new municipal building for a library, etc. at a cost of more than 3 million dollars. Are the taxpayers ready for this? Is it necessary to tear down a usable historic building in order to plan for and then propose a second structure which may never be built? Shouldn’t the taxpayers approve of a plan for the property BEFORE the historical building is torn down?

James W. Woodward