Bids come in high for work to demo Wolfe Ave home

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By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

The town-owned house at 35 Wolfe Ave. in Beacon Falls. –ANDREAS YILMA

BEACON FALLS — Officials are deliberating how to move forward with a plan to take down the town-owned house on Wolfe Avenue after bids for work associated with the project came in higher than hoped.

Voters approved buying the 1.5-acre property and house at 35 Wolfe Ave. — the former home of Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Co. President Tracy Lewis — in 2008 for $425,000. At the time, officials planned to build a community center and library on the property. Those plans never moved forward and the house has fallen into disrepair.

Officials earlier this year decided to allow Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 to use the home for a live burn training. The town sought bids for selective demolition, remediation and debris removal work to augment the live burn.

First Selectman Gerard Smith said the town received several bids for the work, ranging from $82,000 to $194,000.

“All of them wildly exceeded what the town had budgeted for the demolition,” Smith said.

The town earmarked $80,000 to take down the home and already spent $15,000 of that for an environmental assessment of the house and a detached carriage house on the property conducted by Eagle Environmental.

The firm found lead paint in both buildings, but only the carriage house had levels the company said would be considered hazardous lead waste if demolished, according to an analysis submitted to the town in January. The firm also found some areas with asbestos in the house.

The Board of Selectmen agreed last week that the town isn’t going to be able to move forward with taking down the house with the funds officials set aside.

“None of the numbers fit with what we got,” Selectman Michael Krenesky said.

Smith said officials are reviewing their options.

“We’re still reviewing all our bids and deciding the next course of action,” Smith said.

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