Letter to the editor: Clarification of Lewis house tours

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The problem with politics is that people pay attention to the initial statement being made and not the truth or lack of the truth, which backs it up. Politicians know and routinely use this to place doubts in the minds of potential voters. In the December 17th Citizen’s News article on the Wolfe Avenue/Tracy Lewis house, 1st Selectman Susan Cable was quoted as saying that I was not authorized to give tours or request quotes on behalf of the Town of Beacon Falls. I am not sure to what specific tours the 1st Selectman was referring to and I would like to address the quote I solicited related to demolition of the buildings on the property.

There have been three events or tours held at the Wolfe Avenue property. The first was sponsored by the Beacon Falls Historical Society and authorized by the Board of Selectman. An article of this event was published in this newspaper.

I gave a tour of the property to Mr. Robert Spear. Mr. Spear is a retired construction engineer and has volunteered his services and considerable knowledge to the Town and Regional School System. He has been working on the replacement roof at Long River Middle School and in Beacon Falls the proposed Streetscape/Greenway. The latter at the 1st Selectman’s request. Mr. Spear received permission from 1st Selectman Cable to tour the house.

Last was a visit from Mr. John Yandell, who is the grandson of Tracy S Lewis. While in New York on business, he asked if he could see the property. I asked and received permission from the 1st Selectman to take Mr. Yandell on a tour of his grandfather’s & mother’s former home.

One last person went through the house, a representative of the Standard Demolition Company of Trumbull. My request of Standard Demolition was to provide an ‘informational’ estimate to raze the buildings. I presented these findings to the Board of Selectmen at its December meeting. The 1st Selectman has supposedly received several estimates related to demolition of the buildings. It has been several months since she received this information and the 1st Selectman has not shared any of the details with Selectman Sorrentino or me. As an elected officer of the Town, I was very concerned that there was a reason that the 1st Selectman was keeping this information secret, I therefore took what I felt was the proper course of action and requested another quote from another 3rd party. The $71,000 estimate includes hazard material abatement.

Which brings me to a puzzling question. Why would Selectman Sorrentino make a motion to move forward with demolition of the buildings on this property without any knowledge of the cost? During the December Selectmen meeting he read a motion from a prepared statement, so was he directed by someone to take this step?

In the end there is no plan for the property. There are no confirmed costs for renovation or demolition, and there is no project with related costs that can be brought to the taxpayers. This is a dark hole and I cannot support spending any money until all the expenses and future plans are finalized and presented to the taxpayers for their approval to proceed.

Michael A Krenesky
Beacon Falls Selectman