Westerly Council to Discuss Use of Rescue Bill Funding for Potter Hill Mill Demolition | Where is
WEST – City council will consider committing $ 400,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funds for the demolition of the Potter Hill Mill at a meeting scheduled for Monday. The actual commitment of funds would depend on the approval by a Superior Court judge of an administrative lien that would give the city top priority to recover the funds.
As part of the plan, the $ 400,000 would come from the $ 6.6 million that authorities expect from the city under the US federal bailout law of 2021. The funds are expected to arrive in the city over the course of the year. the next two years. The proposed demolition project is expected to meet funding criteria under federal law because it would create open space that could be used by the public and “mitigate flooding,” CEO J. Mark Rooney told the council at the time. from his September conference. 13 meeting.
“We have obtained indications from grant writer and project manager Lisa Pellegrini that she would be eligible for expenditure oversight by the US Treasury Department,” Rooney told the board. Pellegrini, who was previously director of the city’s development services department, now works for the city as a grant writer and administrator.
The federal government will reimburse municipalities and other qualified entities for qualified projects using funds made available through the bailout act, said city attorney William J. Conley Jr.
The city has been trying to clean up the mill property for decades. A demolition order was issued by the city in 1980 but was never executed. A more recent effort by the city to enforce a demolition order was caught in a court battle for years before being upheld by a Superior Court judge. Yet the mill buildings continued to stand in their dilapidated state.
At the end of 2019, city council allowed John Dorsey, a lawyer, to ask a Superior Court judge to place the plant’s property in receivership, a process akin to bankruptcy. The judge upheld the town’s petition and Dorsey worked to find a solution to address the health and safety risks posed by the plant, which is located along the Pawcatuck River near the boundary from the town of Hopkinton. Renewable Resources Inc.’s efforts of property owner Edward Carapezza to redevelop the plant have failed, over the years, to gain traction.
Dorsey, at the council meeting, said he would ask a judge to grant an administrative privilege in conjunction with the proposed demolition of the factory buildings. City Councilor Philip Overton asked if the city would have a chance to recover the funds. Dorsey said he believed the city would be protected.
“From a financial point of view, I understand that any consideration of approval of an allocation of funds by the city would be conditional on the Superior Court also granting the city a priority administrative privilege, subject only to expenses. of the process, which basically works as a first lien on the property, ”Dorsey said.
The demolition of the factory buildings would likely not take place until next year after a report is completed on the historic significance of the factory, buildings and their components, Dorsey said.
Efforts are also underway to remove the dam that fed the mill, which ceased operations in the 1950s. The dam is considered a potential flood hazard and an obstacle to fish passage and recreational use of the mill. the river by kayakers and canoeists. The resolution under consideration by the council does not refer to the dam project, which is currently in the study phase.