Letter to the editor: Wolfe Avenue property a liability for Beacon Falls

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This letter is in responses to a recent article about the town owned property on Wolfe Ave in Beacon Falls. I live in the same area as the building and have been in it several times during the time the town has owned it. All one has to do is take an objective look at the building to see if it is worth spending taxpayer money to repair it. Just looking at the outside of it you can see that two of the three chimneys have bricks missing both at the top and in the middle causing them to have to be rebuilt. The pillars on the carport on the side of the building are rotted out to the point that two-by-four boards had to be put in place to keep it from falling off the main building.

In the article one person is quoted as saying “for less money than tearing it down, you could refurbish the main floor.” Unfortunately you cannot refurbish just one floor of the building. The basement walls and ceilings are covered in Black Mold that is slowly creeping up to the main floor making it a liability to the town whenever someone is in the building.

Throughout the building there is what most likely, based on the age of the building, lead-based paint peeling from the walls and ceilings that would need to be removed. Past plumbing issues have made it necessary to tear out several walls to get to the pipes leaving gaping holes some as large as 3×5 feet. The wiring in the building would all need to be brought up to code from the 1920’s knob and tube wiring that is there now. The building would have to be fitted for handicap accessibility in accordance with the Americans with Disability Act including widening of doors, installation of ramps and the possibility of installing an elevator.

As far as the historical value for the building goes, it seems to be stretching it a bit to say it is historical because it was the summer home of the son of the man who founded the Rubber Shoe company. That’s like saying George Washington’s stepson slept here. For this community to move forward it must remember its past, but it must let it not stand in the way of its future.

I have touched on just some of the issues involving this building and believe that spending taxpayer’s money on repairing this building would be a disservice to all taxpayers of Beacon Falls and that the building should be taken down as soon as possible.

Joseph F Dowdell
Beacon Falls