At Milton’s first Annual Fall Town Meeting on Monday, October 22, night one of what will become a two-night meeting featured a pair of decisions on the future of 131 Eliot Street, the former Hendrie’s Building.
After a lengthy discussion that intertwined Article 1 (whether to appropriate $198,278 in local aid to the Reserve Fund) and Article 4 (to move forward with the demolition of the town-owned portion of the building with no specific monies appropriated), Town Meeting voted yes on both articles.
The votes will now allow the Warrant Committee to appropriate the necessary money from the Reserve Fund to the demolition of the 7,000 square feet of the building, which border Central Avenue and part of the MBTA trolley tracks.
According to Board of Selectmen Chair Tom Hurley, the cost of demolition alone will be between $80,000 and $86,000. An estimated $100,000 will be applied to a two to three day closure of the Mattapan High Speed Trolley Line, shutting off electricity in the area, MBTA safety officials and police details.
Developer Steve Connelly owns the larger portion of the former Hendrie’s Ice Cream plant, which has been condemned.
The town and Connelly are currently involved in a lawsuit over the condemnation and it is unknown if the building will be taken down as one or as two projects.
“First and foremost we are still working with the Connellys to take down the building all at once,” Hurley said.
If the town removes its portion first, an additional cost, which is part of the estimated $100,000 will be used to shore up the abutting wall.
The town’s liability if the building, which has been empty for over 20 years, were to injure someone was a major concern on Monday night.
“The proximity to the tracks and the proximity to Central Avenue make this an extreme concern to my office,” Building Inspector Joe Prondak said.
Town Meeting also unanimously approved Articles 2 and 3, which dealt with MWRA appropriations, on Monday.
Fall Town Meeting will reconvene Monday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting at Milton High School will consider the final two zoning articles.