• Pittsfield demolishes Irene-damaged buildings
     | September 30,2013
    Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo

    Members of Harvey’s Plumbing & Excavating demolish the last of three properties damaged by Tropical Storm Irene on Route 100 in Pittsfield.

    PITTSFIELD — Imagine green space.

    That’s been a tall order for residents of Pittsfield — or travelers coming from or going to Interstate 89 — as they passed a trio of damaged and distended structures sitting on Route 100 on the south side of the village.

    The structures included a singlewide mobile home sagging beneath its own weight and a two-story house left leaning on its side, proof of the destructive power of the flooding that followed Tropical Storm Irene.

    Those structures are now a thing of the past.

    Wednesday, demolition work began on the properties, which stood not just as unwanted monuments to an environmental disaster, but a daily reminder of the painfully slow movement of government bureaucracy.

    “Everybody’s just happy to see them go,” said Donald Flynn, a town lister and the man who coordinated the town’s buyout efforts.

    In July, the town purchased the three contiguous properties — plus a fourth farther south on Route 100 — for $498,000. That money included the purchase price and money for demolition and site work.

    The money came from the federal government. Seventy-five percent came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. An additional 25 percent came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    A Rochester-based company, Harvey’s Plumbing and Excavating, began demolishing the houses Wednesday, and by Friday afternoon the structures had been reduced to rubble.

    “It doesn’t take long to take them down,” Flynn said.

    Things have begun to move quite quickly, now that the buyouts are complete. Flynn said Harvey’s Excavating will continue to work on the property into October, to remove wells and septic tanks and to return the land to something flat and useful for the town.

    And what use will the town have for the land?

    Under the terms of the buyout, the town can only use the land for a park or a sports field, and the only structure that can be built are restrooms to support those uses. The town will work with the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission — administrator at the local level for the federal HUD funding — to plan for the land’s future use.

    “They’ll come back to us when they’re done with the demo and the site work, but it’s really too early to say what the town is going to do with the land,” said Bob Ennis, a grant administrator for Two Rivers. “But, it’s good news to see these highly visible structures coming down.”

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