Company to salvage parts of historic home

The Board of Selectmen approved an agreement with a salvage company to take items, including the front door and door knocker, from the house at 35 Wolfe Ave. in Beacon Falls, known locally as the Tracy Lewis House, for $3,000. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — The town is saying goodbye to portions of one of its historic houses.

The Board of Selectmen last week approved an agreement with Salvage Works that allows the salvage company to remove items of value from the house at 35 Wolfe Ave., known locally as the Tracy Lewis House. Under the agreement, Salvage Works will pay the town $3,000.

Salvage Works sent the town a list of items it wishes to remove from the house, including all the light fixtures, the bathtubs and bath hardware, the push-button light switches, the front door and door knocker, and the window over the front door.

While the items may fetch more money than the company is paying the town, officials said there’s no other proposals on the table.

“We have nobody knocking on the door to go in and do anything,” said Selectman Michael Krenesky, who was named custodian of the house in 2014.

Voters approved buying the 1.5-acre property and house, which once belonged to Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Co. President Tracy Lewis, in 2008 for $425,000. At the time, the plan was to build a community center and library on the property. However, those plans have yet to come to fruition. Efforts over recent years to do something with the house, which has fallen into disrepair, and move the project forward have stalled.

In 2017, the board formed a Community Media Center Building Committee, chaired by Krenesky, to explore options for the house and property.

At the time it was formed, the committee requested $60,000 for architectural drawings. The Board of Finance denied the request, asking the committee to show an interest within the community for the project first.

This year, the committee requested $40,000, which the Board of Finance tentatively put it in the budget as a capital expense. It’s unclear whether the money will make the cut when the final budget is adopted, since the town is facing other more pressing capital projects.

Krenesky resigned from the committee last week and recommended putting it on hold until the town puts together a capital plan of exactly how it wants to move forward with the project.

“I don’t see the reason to have a group of people sitting together in a room every month, talking about something that may not happen for 10 or 20 years. It makes no sense to me to continue to do that,” Krenesky said.

First Selectman Christopher Bielik suggested the committee could meet quarterly or semi-annually until the capital plan is in place, rather than putting it on hold.

“I think there are ways of attacking it without moth-balling it permanently, at least for the foreseeable future,” Bielik said.

The board is expected to discuss the issue again at its May meeting.

Krenesky requested Bielik or Selectman Peter Betkoski chair the committee.

“I do not feel I am the right person to be chairing this committee. So, effective this evening, I am withdrawing from the committee altogether and you two can figure out which of you wants to be on it,” Krenesky said.