Authorities clear more squatters from former YMCA

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 3:49 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington authorities Thursday cleared more squatters from the former YMCA on College Street, a privately-owned building that has become a magnet for the homeless.

What was once the old basketball court of the YMCA has become a landing spot for people trespassing in the building.

The walls are covered in graffiti and heaps of trash cover the floor. WCAX cameras weren’t allowed past the entryway because authorities say the rest of the building is structurally unsound. But pictures show rooms covered in needles and garbage.

Ben Frye, the property manager and a consultant for the owner, Giri Hotel Management, says as quickly as he works to secure the building, people break right back in. “We can’t be here 24/7,” he said.

As part of an environmental assessment conducted by the city Thursday, Frye says officials found about seven people inside. Burlington authorities cleared the building and no one was cited.

“This building is in extreme disrepair. It’s not safe for anybody,” Frye said. He says he’s working on a permit to do something with the building. He wouldn’t provide details but says it will benefit the community.

Frye says that he welcomes any help from the city to move the process or permitting along. “At least a demolition. At this point, the building is not really salvageable,” he said.

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