Fitchburg’s Wrecking Ball May Swing
FITCHBURG -- A multi-family building damaged in a 2017 fire is among the list of abandoned buildings the city is considering to remove because they contribute to blight and are an immediate threat to public safety.
“This is a very early step in the process,” said Liz Murphy, the city’s director of housing and development.
The mayor’s office put out a notice Monday to inform residents about an environmental review work at the properties. It included the addresses of six structures that could be taken down.
One of the buildings is 62 Sheridan St., which was damaged when in a two-alarm fire in January 2017 displaced 10 residents and two cats.
Since then, the building has been boarded up and the damage to the roof and third-floor deck can be seen from the street.
Other buildings that could be taken down are 146 Daniels St., 40 1/2 Nashua St., 182 Rollstone St., 190 Townsend St., and 8 Woodland St.
Murphy said some city-owned buildings could also be up for demolition.
The list is not finalized, she said, because the environmental review is underway and the Building Department and surveyors are working with the property owners determine if the buildings are unsafe to warrant demolition.
By May 17, the city plans to submit a request to release nearly $500,000 in Community Development Block Grants funds to complete the demolition.
An environmental notice is a requirement to be able to use CDBG money for demolition, Murphy said, and helps the city get an idea of what’s in the ground before they begin work.
Public comments about the environmental review can be submitted by May 13 to the Community Development Department.
Murphy said the goal is to begin demolition work by the end of summer or beginning of the fall.
The properties were identified through the Mayor’s Neighborhood Improvement through Code Enforcement Task Force. That group meets twice a month to come up with strategies to address the city’s problem properties through inspections, working with owners, receivership, or demolition.
“It’s not hard to identify the ones that would be good for demolition and help improve the neighborhood,” Murphy said.
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