Downtown Essex has one of the nation’s classic, small town centers. There is the charming “round about,” where Main Street converges with North Main Street. There is the historic Griswold Inn just down the way on Main Street, and further still the striving Connecticut River Museum, and the waters of the Connecticut River.
As for North Main Street from the “round about” outward along the river, there is a veritable parade of marvelous residences, the restored Dickenson Mansion among them.
However, among the marvelous homes of Essex, there is one exception, and that is the abandoned, burned out structure located at the southwest corner of North Main Street and New City Street.
This is the Town of Essex’s poster child of urban blight.
Why can’t something be done to restore or eliminate, this boarded up, fire-singed property? Could it be torn down and replaced by a mini-park? Or perhaps a new house could be built on the property, one that is worthy of its grand neighbors!
Present House Called an “Eye Sore”
“It’s an eye store,” says nearby Essex resident Marianne Flores, who was walking by the house on a recent afternoon. She lives nearby, and walks by the town’s “five star” slum almost every day. “I can’t believe that the town has not done something about it,” she says.
Furthermore, in Ms Flores’ view, “The property is beyond fixing up,” and the present house should be simply torn down. Another neighbor of the slum house, who just came by, nodded her head in agreement.
First Selectman Says He’s Trying
Essex’s First Selectman Norman Needleman issued a long statement as to what he was doing to address the Town of Essex’s number one slum property. He said,
“Regarding 63 North Main Street property, we have been actively engaged with the bank, the insurance company, and the neighbors in trying to resolve the very difficult situation presented by this property.
It recently went into foreclosure, and my hope is that the bank will move forward in trying to sell the property soon.
“Options such as organizing a group of interested neighbors to purchase the mortgage on the property have been presented, but no response has been received from the bank. I have been told that they are under strict confidentiality guidelines. I regularly speak to the neighbors and keep them abreast of the situation.
“This issue is high on the list of property issues that needed to be resolved, since before I was elected nearly two years ago. I am happy to say that several of the other issues, like the Mazda dealership and the Sunoco station are, or are being resolved. In addition, the property across from the Sunoco station is in the process of a lengthy and costly cleanup.”
Selectman Joel Marzi Expresses Concern
Essex’s Selectman Joel Marzi also expressed his concern about the eyesore on North Main Street. “It is absolutely a shame that it had to happen,” Marzi said, regarding the present degraded condition of the house on North Main Street. Marzi also said that he and the other selectmen were determined to address the issue.
Essex’s other Selectman, Stacia Libby, said, “We are all in this together,” referring to herself and the other two Selectmen. “It is an unfortunate situation, and we have about exhausted all our efforts.”