Letter: Bennington should address Main Street 'eyesore'
To the Editor:
Every day that I drive down Main Street I can't avoid the eyesore that was once the Middle School. It has dozens of broken windows; graffiti is sprayed on the walls, and is in a generally dilapidated condition.
In 2016 our Select Board adopted a "Property Maintenance Ordinance" which addresses "neglected or abandoned properties." The ordinance requires that any owner of property shall "maintain the exterior of all buildings thereon including, but not limited to, finishes, roofing, windows, trim, etc. so as to address and minimize deterioration, blight, and dilapidation" and "Promptly correct significant, visible deterioration of building materials including, but not limited to, rotting wood, crumbling brick, chipped paint, etc." "Plywood is permitted to cover broken windows for a period of up to 30 days, after which it must be replaced by new glass windows or, by appropriate building materials painted in a manner that imitates the original window design."
"If the Owner shall fail to comply or to remedy a violation the Building Inspector may impose a civil fine of up to $250.00 per day; and/or commence an enforcement action before the Judicial Bureau or the Vermont Superior Court."
The town built this structure many years ago for the benefit of our children. It served the town well for many years, but the time has come for it to be either fully rehabilitated or torn down. Let's be honest - this eyesore exists because our school district essentially walked away from the property.
I believe that collectively, in one way or another, our town has an obligation to lead in the revitalization of this property, and if the town has adopted legal remedies to address this issue, it should use them.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.