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August 15, 2013

Derry building razed; councilors split on future

DERRY — After a town-owned building on Central Street was demolished last week, some town officials are wondering what comes next.

The building at 8 Central St. was purchased by the town for $173,000 — one of several proposed real estate deals some hoped would pave the way for potential economic growth in that area to help boost downtown Derry.

A second $375,000 real estate deal in that same neighborhood fell to the curb in May when town councilors voted, 4-3, not to spend that money. Another $125,000 was shot down that would have paid for the demolition costs of both buildings.

Council newcomers Mark Osborne, Tom Cardon and Al Dimmock all voted not to buy the second property, along with Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks.

Some were surprised to see the empty lot on Central Street last week.

“I noticed the property being torn down last week when I was checking out the property in back and was not aware it was going to happen,” Cardon said.

Osborne said the demolition needed a signature from the Town Council chairman before proceeding.

“I’m not sure what they are doing with the purchased building,” he said. “It was never discussed amongst the Council.”

Last week’s demolition cost $25,700, according to acting and assistant Town Manager Larry Budreau. That money came from the Public Works budget.

“The plan was to include demolition for both parcels when the second building was purchased,” Budreau said. “Absent that (second building) approval, the demolition was paid out of the Public Works budget. They will assess the status of their budget next spring.”

The town owns other properties in that area, including the former DiFeo oil site, but any future development plans have stalled.

“No specific alternate plan has been developed,” Budreau said.

Councilor Neil Wetherbee voted to buy both properties and had high hopes for what downtown Derry could do.

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