Demolition Begins on Vacant Hartford Building Damaged by Fire

Demolition is underway on a vacant property in Hartford that was significantly damaged during a fire last spring.

Neighbors said the building at 886 Park St. became an eyesore in the community in the months following the fire.

“We actually live right across from it, so we see it every day when we look out the window. It doesn’t look right. All you see is a broken down building. You feel bad for the family that used to live there,” said Elizabeth Kobus, of Hartford.

Laura Settlemyer, the director of Blight Remediation for the city of Hartford, said the property owner initially planned to remodel the building. When no progress had been made, her office enlisted the help of the state’s attorney to compel the property owner to pay for demolition. Demolition costs approximately $80,000, which is about $20,000 more than the average demolition, because crews have to demolish the top two floors by hand to protect the neighboring properties.

This is just one of 320 blighted vacant buildings that city officials have on their radar. In 2017, they targeted 150 properties and of those about 90 property owners stepped forward, pulled permits and started doing work. Settlemyer suggests if you are living next to a blighted property you notify the city.

“I feel for them. I know we can talk about how many properties we’ve done and how many properties we’re doing and what we’re getting to next. But if you’re living next door to a blighted property I know that none of that matters. So for anyone who is frustrated, I’d say please make sure we know about your building, call us, call 311,” Settlemyer said.

Demolition began on Friday and is expected to continue throughout this week. Neighbors said they are hopeful for the future.

“I hope they remodel it, you know, these buildings have been here for a long time, since I was a kid,” said Jason Otero of Hartford.

“Hopefully they’ll building something new for a new family and hopefully much better and safer,” said Kobus.

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