Banishing blight in West Rutland - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Banishing blight in West Rutland

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Peeling paint and an old newspaper on the front stoop are just a few of the obvious signs of neglect at a house on Main Street in West Rutland.

"It has been neglected for a while and it's an eyesore for the town on a very visible corner near the school," Town Manager Mary Ann Goulette said.

Last year, 629 Main Street was bought at a tax auction. The original owner never reclaimed it or repaid his taxes, as the new owner had hoped. So, the town recently offered to buy it up, only to tear it down as soon as they pass papers.

"We reached out to the new owner to see if he'd be interested in selling to the town. Giving the reasoning being we would raze the house and widen the street," Goulette said.

The blighted property runs more than half the length of High Street, a narrow, one-way street that backs into the school parking lot. Town officials think tearing down the home and widening the street to two-way traffic will make for safer travel.

"And then you know it's one-way, but you wouldn't believe the students, the teachers, the parents that come down through here anyway," Kim Curtis said.

Curtis and her father, Ralph, own the homes on either side of the blighted property. They say they'd rather stare at two-way traffic than junk piles any day.

"Can't happen soon enough," Curtis said.

Right now when parents, faculty and students pull out of the high school they cannot take a left onto High Street, that would spit them right on the main road. Instead, they have to backtrack through residential neighborhoods, which many feel is unsafe for kids on bikes and on foot.

"I think it's a great idea. It really needs to open up that little street. It's dangerous that so many cars have to go through such a residential area to get back onto the main drag," said Kathy Turgeon, a teacher.

The town hopes to start tearing down the home in January and widening the road in the spring.

The town is spending about $8,000 to buy the house. They expect the tear down and the road work to cost about $15,000, so they're in it about $23,000, which they feel is well worth it to keep the kids in town safe.

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