Greenwood will hold public hearing on options for mill lots
On Monday, Sept. 21, Greenwood residents will have a chance to speak their minds on the possibility of the town purchasing or otherwise acquiring a lot or lots from the Saunders Brothers dowel mill.
But they will not be making any decisions at that point.
Town selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday to call a public hearing, at which they could get a feel for town opinion, and – as Selectman Amy Chapman put it – “see if anybody has got some ideas.”
The town might soon be shopping for more land -- two current municipal buildings, the town office and town hall, have serious mold problems, due largely to the low elevations and high water tables of their lots.
If the town were forced to abandon the present town office and rebuild it on the current lot, the new structure would have to be built on a slab, Town Manager Kim Sparks noted.
There has also be talk of acquiring a mill lot adjacent to the town cemetery, for its possible future expansion.
And, Sparks said Tuesday, in conversations with her residents have expressed interest in other mill lots, and/or the town “working a deal” in exchange for taking a one-acre piece of PCB-contaminated land the mill owners offered to give the town
The owners have also offered to sell two piece of land to the town: a six-acre parcel across Bird Hill Road from the town office (see “G'wood gets first dibs on six acres of mill land” at bethelcitizen.com), and an two-acre lot between the cemetery and Union Church.
The asking prices are $88,000 and $37,000 respectively.
And the owners appear willing to deal, Sparks told the selectmen.
In a recent conversation, she said, Louise Jonaitis, one of the owners, told her: “If the town wants to sit down and brainstorm. Is or isn't interested in these two pieces. Is interested in other pieces the mill owns, make us an offer. And feel free to counter on these two.”
As for the offer to give the town (which has potential access to federal clean-up funds) the contaminated lot: “It's on the back burner,” Sparks said.
“They want to concentrate all their efforts on the mill and getting it open.
“They see it coming up again possibly sometime in the spring – them putting it back in our laps and asking us to take it on, and get it cleaned up”
And, she noted, “DEP has to have some time to do a full inspection and their own testing.”
Chapman said Tuesday that a public hearing at this point would provide an opportunity for the town to begin to come to grips this array of possibilities.
“We haven't come up with any kind of a plan for the future municipal complex,” she said. “It would be putting the cart before the horse to talk of buying a piece of land, but certainly a hearing wouldn't be out of place.”
It will be at 6 p.m., in the town office meeting room.