NORWICH – Workers from Burrell’s Excavation in Norwich got a jump start early Thursday morning as final preparations made way for the demolition of two long abandoned structures along the west side of Silver street in the City.
Traffic was slowed as a bright orange excavator trenched deep into rich brown earth from the curbside to access the water main, but even that wasn’t enough to halt prying eyes.
As a means to an end, the City was able to leverage State moneys secured through round four of the Restore New York Communities Initiative in fiscal year 2017. The program, which provides municipalities with financial assistance for revitalization of both commercial and residential properties, places community development and neighborhood growth through the elimination and redevelopment of blighted properties one of its focal points.
45 Silver, which has been held by the City for some time, was originally slated for a unique rehabilitation effort in conjunction with the DCMO-BOCES Carpentry trades program. Given the historical value of the two-story dwelling; with its sturdy bones and stately corbels framing its main entry, in was intended that students would work along tradesmen to breathe new life into the now dilapidated eyesore. But, following a series of environmental tests, City code enforcement director Jason Lawrence indicated that there were just too many safety obstacles in the way to fill the sails of the proposed rehab initiative.
“The exterior of the building is completely covered in peeling lead paint,” said Lawrence “That alone was enough to halt the student rehabilitation project. The City and New York State take lead exposure very seriously.” That, coupled with some 60 square feet of detected asbestos was a major red flag.
In the past, the City has enjoyed a positive experience in partnering with DCMO-BOCES building trades program with at least one other property on Front Street. The fact that 45 Silvers’ fate was sealed in favor of demolition, the project to construct a new home from the ground up was the next practical option.
“The Front Street property was the first project that the City worked hand-in-hand with BOCES in turning around from vacant blight into a modern home,” said Lawrence, “it went very smoothly.”
Lawrence went on to say that BOCES students will be stick building a single family one story affordable home that will embrace increased mobility building practices with no stairs to a second story and wider than average door widths.
“There’s definitely a need in our community for affordable, accessible housing for the elderly population and those with mobility impairments,” said Lawrence.