Early last year I learned that an abandoned, dilapidated building behind my home had a chance at new life. A buyer wanted to purchase the building, renovate it, and operate it as a candle factory. Unfortunately, the buyer was forced to back away from that purchase because the City of Charlestown would not consider a zoning variance required for them to operate their business.
This building borders my property and causes me great worry. Rust, offensive graffiti, overgrown vegetation, and structural damage make it a health and safety hazard. In May 2018 I took my concerns to the Board of Public Works (see that meeting here: 05/21/2018 Board of Public Works) When my request for action by that Board was ignored, I took my concerns to the Common Council meeting the next month (see that meeting here: 06/04/2018 Common Council Meeting)
At that meeting, Mayor Bob Hall
- admitted that the building is a problem,
- confirmed that there had been a private sale that the City obstructed,
- said that he would announce plans for the building within 60 days.
What were the plans for that building?
The City wants to buy it for “Renaissance II.”
Today, one full year after I voiced my concerns, that building remains vacant, dilapidated, and has actually gotten worse since now they no longer even mow the grass or maintain the property at all.
This is what GROWTH looks like in Charlestown today.
Instead of allowing the free market to thrive, instead of encouraging private real estate transactions, instead of welcoming businesses or companies that provide jobs and tax revenue, our current administration denies many of these opportunities.
And now the City finds itself in a bind.
After publicly declaring on multiple occasions in Redevelopment Commission and Board of Public Works meetings their intent to purchase the L&M Bag Company property that borders my home and an additional 10 acres of land along Highway 62, the City finds itself unable to follow through.
Now our Redevelopment Commission is passing around several versions of a PowerPoint presentation begging developers and investors to take a chance on the properties. You can view one version here: Redevelopment Gateway Presentation 2019
We’ve seen this development strategy before with the Renaissance Project. Yet again the City is offering to buy private property, spend more money on demolition, then sell it to an investor for ONE DOLLAR.
This is the existing “growth” and “development” we have in Charlestown. When we vote we are choosing what strategy we want. Do we want to continue using tax payer money to give property away to developers? VOTE!