The demolition of five vacant buildings within the Riverside Apartments on Olson Drive began this week, with city officials still hoping the land can be preserved as open space once the buildings come down.
“It’s going to take two to three months to finish demolishing all the buildings, but they have started,” Mayor James Della Volpe told Aldermen Tuesday (Oct. 8)
City officials want to preserve the land as open space and are asking voters for permission to spend $330,000 to possibly purchase the land — assuming they can work out a deal with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
That issue is still up in the air, Della Volpe said after the meeting.
HUD officials have in the past warned Ansonia that the units being demolished must be replaced elsewhere.
Della Volpe sought, and received, help in talking to HUD from the city’s congressional representatives, but the mayor said Tuesday night that he hasn’t spoken to HUD “since three to four weeks ago.”
He said he hopes to get another meeting scheduled “sometime down the road,” and that the city was maintaining its position that the land where the to-be-demolished buildings stand south of High Street remain as open space.
“The west side of town really needs it,” Della Volpe said.
The $330,000 referendum item on the money to purchase the land is a small part of a larger proposed borrowing plan, which is heading to voters Nov. 5.
In all, Ansonia government is asking voters to approve $5.1 million in borrowing for an array of projects, the borrowing for which, city officials say, won’t cause taxes to rise. Click here to read more.
This week’s demo at Olson Drive marks the second time in four years the city has torn down parts of the complex, which were at one time plagued by crime and violence.
A Valley Indy story published in 2011 showed that the crime rate in the complex had actually plummeted in recent years.
Residents are still living within the apartments on Olson Drive closest to the Maple Street bridge.