July 24, 2024

The Recorder – Greenfield City Council declares vacant property at 188 Main St. surplus

Published: 12/21/2023 5:45:23 PM

Modified: 12/21/2023 5:44:57 PM

GREENFIELD — A City Council vote Wednesday evening declared the vacant property and longtime eyesore at 188 Main St. — the former home of Lucky Nails — as surplus, paving the way for a future use.

However, a vote to authorize the sale, whether by auction or other means, was tabled to next month in favor of allowing more time to research the appropriate steps forward for this particular property, which was taken by the city for back taxes in June 2017 and demolished in November 2019 for safety reasons associated with a crumbling foundation. An attempt to auction the property in October 2020 turned up no buyers.

Finance Director Diana Schindler explained to councilors that, unlike typical surplus properties, this site was acquired through the tax title taking process, meaning it must be disposed of the same way as outlined by state law. Given a recent agreement on behalf of the administration to pause the sale of properties taken by the city for back taxes, however, councilors had questions about whether authorizing the 188 Main St. sale would demonstrate a failure to that commitment.

Mayor Roxann Wedegartner emphasized that that agreement, an informal moratorium, was largely to protect residents from being forced to leave their homes while the city awaits state guidance on the tax title taking process.

“This was a business that had fallen on hard times and couldn’t keep the property up and moved out of the property and … basically, for all intents and purposes, abandoned that property,” Wedegartner said. “No one cares about that property anymore, except someone who might want to buy it. If someone wants to buy it at auction, that’s fine, too.”

Ultimately, councilors voted by majority to declare the property surplus. Precinct 4 Councilor John Bottomley and At-Large Councilor Penny Ricketts abstained.

As for authorizing the sale of the 0.03-acre lot — which was assessed at $32,700, according to its property card — City Council voted to table the motion in favor of time for information gathering and ensuring a transparent process for moving forward.

“This property specifically is something that I’d say is a danger to our downtown,” said Precinct 5 Councilor Marianne Bullock. “And I think I would like to make a motion to allow us to have some space.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter (X): @MaryEByrne.

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