One Of Derby’s Worst Eyesores To Be Removed

Photo: Eugene Driscoll Update, 10:03 a.m. Monday Mayor Dziekan’s chief of staff sent an email saying the silo will not becoming down today due to frigid temperatures.

“Machines are frozen in New Haven so tearing down is re-scheduled for tomorrow. Stay tuned,” Andrew Baklik wrote in an email.

Update: The Derby Mayor’s Office sent word that Mayor Dziekan and others will be at Sherman’s Taphouse, a new business at 181 Main St., to watch the silo be dismantled starting at 10 a.m. Monday. The establishment is across the street from the silo.

Original post from Jan. 12 follows:

The Derby Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Thursday to allow a company to remove one of the most prominent eyesores in the city — for free.

“I’m elated. And it only took him six weeks. Not bad,” joked Second Ward Alderman Ron Sill, referencing Derby Mayor Rich Dziekan, who was sworn into office Dec. 2.

Sill said the former Derby Feed silo at 4-8 Caroline St. hasn’t been used in 35 to 40 years.

It’s been rusting for generations.

It can be seen from City Hall.

It greets motorists on Route 34, serving as an ugly, unofficial “welcome to Derby” to thousands of people traveling Route 8.

The silo is part of the “Dirty Derby” stigma Dziekan said he wanted to erase while campaigning for mayor.

“It’s just an eyesore,” Dziekan said.

Chase Waste Material in New Haven will be removing the silo and hauling away the scraps. As of Thursday the company was scheduled to begin work Sunday and finish Monday, though the National Weather Service is calling for heavy rain this weekend.

(Update, Friday evening: The mayor said the tentative takedown date is now Monday)

Photo: Eugene Driscoll

Dziekan said he networked, essentially, to find a company willing to do the work cheap.

“Basically I asked around to people I know in Hamden and North Haven. I knew a guy, who knew a guy, who knew a guy,” he said.

Companies offered to remove the silo for between $5,000 and $10,000, the mayor said.

But Chase Waste Material owner Jim Arcangelo said his company would do it for free.

In a letter to the mayor Jan. 9, the owner said his company understands “the financial constraints cities and towns are facing and would like to donate our time and services.”

In the letter, Arcangelo wrote that the project would normally cost some $15,000.

Presumably the company will be able to make money by scrapping the metal workers take down.

The former Derby Feed property is part of the city’s “redevelopment zone,” a long-stagnant stretch of land between Main Street and the Housatonic River.

In 2015, Derby Aldermen voted to purchase the property to settle a lawsuit. The property owner had claimed the lack of progress as promised by the city had decimated property values.

Derby taxpayers paid $452,354.95 for the property to settle the lawsuit, which was first filed in 2009. The settlement was actually $600,000, but Derby subtracted back taxes owed on the property.

In related Derby redevelopment news, Dziekan said the Main Street buildings that were supposed to come down by Dec. 18 in order to make room for the Route 34 widening project won’t be coming down soon.

Dziekan said the state, which owns the buildings, has to investigate whether the building’s foundations are structurally important to the existing road. In essence, the foundations could be supporting the road, Dziekan said.

That info was apparently not known when the state and the prior administration sent out a press release in October saying the buildings would be gone within 90 days.

The Route 34/Main Street widening project, meanwhile, is supposed to start in the spring of 2019, though saying that three times in front of a mirror will most likely delay it a decade given its history.

Dziekan is also working with the Army Corps of Engineers and DPZ, a consulting company, to make sure a planned “U Street” design for the redevelopment zone can actually be implemented.

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