Wilmington closes on flood damaged property

Wednesday August 21, 2013

WILMINGTON -- The town will decide in upcoming weeks what will become of a property that was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene.

"We are now the proud owners of a property at 3 Shafter St.," said Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy.

On Aug. 16, the town closed on the purchase of the property, which was made available through the first round of the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, or HMGP. It was offered to property owners whose properties had been affected by the damage from the storm by at least 50 percent.

The HMGP offers 75 percent of the buyout through FEMA funding. For this particular project, the state agreed to provide the other 25 percent.

The Shafter Street buyout had been in the process for two years. The Brissettes, who formerly owned the property, had chosen to take the buyout offer.

The town then bought the property but will not be allowed to build any permanent structures on it.

"It effectively mitigates the flood problem," said Murphy.

The idea is to make sure, if there ever is a flood again, that there would be no harm done to any individuals, he added.

Over the next few weeks, the town will put out two different request for proposals, which will address the removal of asbestos as well as the building demolition. Murphy said that he hopes that this work can be done before it begins snowing. He told the Reformer that there are "no hard plans" at the moment for the property.

There has been talk of developing the land into a public park due to its access to the downtown village.

"The (downtown program group) Wilmington Works Design Committee has been talking about some possible park designs," said Murphy.

Another Wilmington property in the progress of a similar buyout is Frank Sprague's former work barn, which is located off Route 100 north. It was completely flooded during Irene, Murphy said.

The town is currently waiting on paperwork. Because it was a commercial lot, it had "slightly different qualifications."

"It's taking a little bit longer," Murphy continued. "We should have that done in a month."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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