Updated Feb, 15 to correctly reflect the name of Peter Krutiak, who was incorrectly identified in a previous version. Wednesday February 13, 2013
CHESHIRE -- Residents voted 40 to 12 in favor of allotting $47,870 from free cash to tear down the Cheshire Inn at Tuesday's special town meeting.
The demolition, still a week or more down the road, will leave roughly an acre of cleared property in the center of town, which, according to Selectmen Paul Astorino, has an assessed value of $46,000.
"Who knows what could go there?" Astorino said before the vote. "It could be used for farmers markets and other community activities."
The town owns the property, having taken it by tax title from former owner Peter Krutiak in 2011. D. Condran Construction Inc., won the bid for the building's demolition.
Resident James Tworig argued that he instead be allowed to purchase the building from the town for $17,500, commission salvagers to tear it down and then move lawn care and bait shop businesses he currently operates from his home to the Route 8 location, in two new buildings he'd have built on the site.
Tworig said the town would earn $3,000 per year in taxes from such an arrangement.
"In these economic times, I would think any money generated by taxes would be welcomed," he said.
Astorino proceeded to make the town's case.
"I think the town of Cheshire, for its future needs, should be able to say we own a municipal piece of land right in the center of town. ... Let's not make any quick decisions because we don't know what it could be worth to us. I think we should hold it."
Resident Francis Waterman agreed.
"It's always good planning to possess a piece of property in a central location," he said. "This should be money well spent in the eyes of the town because there will be a good future use for that property."
Tworig's involvement in a "perpetual tag sale" operated with the then-owner of the building at the site in 2007, ordered removed by the building inspector and town officials, was also brought to light.
Voters ultimately favored the town's proposal.
A third option was also put before officials before the meeting.
Resident Robert Goebel said he's found at least one salvage company who'd "most definitely buy [the Inn]."
"Times are tough," Goebel said in an interview, explaining how he'd recently begun researching salvage companies. "I'm seeing if we can get some money out of this thing [for the town]."
Before bidding out its demolition, the town advertised more than once seeking parties interested in buying the Inn, but nobody except Tworig responded.
Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said Goebel's findings sounded "too good to be true," and Town Administrator Mark Webber added that the contractor, Condran, has reported nothing worth salvaging left in the building -- copper piping, tin ceilings and other moldings of value having already been scavenged.
Nonetheless, officials charged Webber with contacting a few of the companies on Goebel's list.
"It's worth a call," Francesconi said. "Our vote doesn't oblige us to spend [the money allotted for demolition], it just enables us to do so."
Voters also approved a sum of $8,000 to be spent on a new furnace for the Senior Center at Tuesday's meeting.
The town has $487,811 in free cash.
To reach Phil Demers, email