Pittsfield gets funding to raze building

Posted April 21, 2009, at 10:28 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — Later this year, Pittsfield Public Works employees were going to have to take down a building on a contaminated property, board by board, in between their regular job duties.

Tuesday night, however, Town Manager Kathryn Ruth said the town has been awarded an additional $70,000 to pay for the cost of removing the building. The town already had received a $40,000 federal brownfields grant to clean up the property on Mount Road.

“Rather than our staff just picking at it, we’ll now be able to take down the building,” Ruth said.

The contaminated property is a former business building that was built in the 1950s and has been used since as a furniture store, a tanning bed distributor and a printing company. When the town acquired the property in the mid-1990s for $23,000 in back taxes, homeless people were living in the building and it was beginning to collapse.

At one point, town officials thought they could burn the building but an assessment of the property found it to be contaminated with asbestos. There is a small fuel oil spill in the soil near a fill pipe.

Ruth said that the town’s match to the grant is $22,000 and most of that can be accomplished by in-kind work.

Ruth told representatives from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year that the town’s goals were to return the property to pristine condition, thereby enhancing the neighborhood and protecting the environment. At the same time, the project would create a marketable property to leverage private investment and employment opportunities.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of the summer, not including the removal of the building. By accepting the EPA funds, the town has a full two years to complete the project.

In other business, the council approved fees for swimming lessons and summer recreational programs for residents and nonresidents, including setting a cap on fees for a family of three or more.

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