OD house

Police, town officials and local residents hope the sale of an apartment house on Gage Street will make the neighborhood safer.

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BENNINGTON — An apartment house that was the scene of fatal drug overdoses and multiple fire and safety violations has been sold, and town officials believe the sale represents positive change for the neighborhood.

The building at 957 Gage St. was inspected in October 2021 by Building Inspector and Health Officer Paul Dansereau, who listed “multiple serious fire and life safety violations” in his report.

The inspection was conducted following a request from Bennington Police, and after what officials said was the most recent of at least two drug overdose deaths at the building.

The Select Board soon after approved an emergency health order to clean up and secure the house and deemed it unfit for occupancy.

FORECLOSURE

After a foreclosure by the lender for the property – the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – the property was placed on the market. It sold late last month.

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Town officials said the foreclosure process was slowed by the involvement of a federal bureaucracy and by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in scheduling delays in the court system.

On Sept. 29, the house was listed as purchased by Ronald Dwyer, of Pownal, for $107,000. Town officials said Dwyer indicated he plans to renovate the property.

Assistant Town Manager and Town Planner Daniel Monks said Tuesday the new owner hasn’t yet applied for building permits, but the structure is unoccupied. The building also appears to be secured and partially boarded up.

Town Communications Coordinator Jonah Spivak said in an email that there are no unresolved outstanding violations on the property.

“Those were resolved by town staff and the prior owner,” he said.

“The issues around this property appear to have been resolved, and we are glad to be able to ‘turn the page’ on this story and we look forward to a new beginning,” Spivak said.

Jim Therrien writes for Vermont News and Media, including the Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal and Brattleboro Reformer. Email jtherrien@benningtonbanner.com

Reporter/editor

Jim Therrien reports for the three Vermont News and Media newspapers in Southern Vermont. He previously worked as a reporter and editor at the Berkshire Eagle, the Bennington Banner, the Springfield Republican, and the former North Adams Transcript.


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