Letter: Disappointed about fate of Wolfe Avenue home

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To the editor,

I’m writing in response to the article “Beacon Falls to burn Wolfe Avenue home” (Citizen’s News, April 23, 2020).

I’m the daughter of the last family to own the property at 35 Wolfe Ave. We lived in, and loved, this house for 22 years.

We’ve all now moved out of state, which is the only reason my parents put the house up for sale 12 years ago. I believe it’s worth noting that they put tens of thousands of dollars of work into renovating the house for sale. It was in gorgeous condition.

They had other offers, but were charmed by the town’s promises to turn our beloved historic home into a place that everyone (including us) could enjoy — something that would benefit the community, and was a much needed addition. A library that was larger than just a floor of the town hall. A real historical society, where the town could actually easily see and appreciate its history. A community center, perfectly positioned between the two churches and across from the town Green.

The battle that ensued afterwards was a disappointment, to say the least. We’ve been following it as much as we could over the years, with growing dread, and at least hoping, through all of the back and forth, that someone was still caring for the house. This final solution, to let Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 use the house to conduct a live burn training, just feels like a tragedy.

This is the Tracy S. Lewis home, which is something we felt pride in while we lived there — to be a part of something with such rich history and so many original and unique features and details. It was also my childhood home, where I have countless wonderful memories. Generations before me can say the same. Both things seem equally important, and make this all that much sadder.

I am truly having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that the town I used to call home has let our house fall so into disrepair that this is their only feasible option?

I mean no disrespect to the fire department, as I’m sure a training opportunity like this would be beneficial, but my overall feeling is this is shameful.

How did it get this far? Why did the town not sell it to someone who would enjoy it, fix the damage they’d let happen by apparent years of neglect, and take care of it?

We entrusted our home to Beacon Falls. I’m so disappointed and ashamed.

Amy Van Vessem

Brooklyn, N.Y.