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Sprucing Up The Neighborhood

The Brookhaven Multi-Modal Facility is not far from completion,especially in the light of the nearly 10 years of planning anddiscussion that has brought the project this far.

But the brand-new facility in the renovated, somewhat historicbuilding will be situated in a part of town that leaves a little tobe desired aesthetically. While the trains have always passedthrough the area at the north end of Railroad Avenue where the oldArrington Machine and Welding building and the old Water Plantflank the land the multi-modal facility is being built on, lookswere never so important.

Brookhaven Public Works Director Steve Moreton said cleaning up thearea is something that has been discussed for years, though nobodyhas been ultimately sure how to go about it. At the last meeting ofthe Brookhaven Board of Aldermen, Ward Three Alderman Mary Wilsonsaid she had put in work orders on some of those properties in pastyears.

But Mayor Les Bumgarner said there will be something done about theneighboring area.

“We’re going to encourage people to clean up that area, and insistthat they do,” said Bumgarner. “The one across from the firedepartment on Willard Street is the old water plant, and thatbelongs to the city, we’re going to clean up that area.”

But, the mayor said, some of the other neighboring buildings areprivate property.

“We felt like putting the multi-modal (facility) there, it wouldencourage other people to take care of their property,” he said.”We’re going to continue cleanup, but sometimes dealing with thepublic is a little slower than we want.”

City Building Inspector Chip Gennaro said there is a procedure tofollow for buildings that are currently eyesores, and it’s one thatthe city is currently working toward with several homes in thearea. It starts with an alderman putting the property on his or herlist of properties that need cleanup.

“If they submit it when we do the list, we’ll send (the propertyowners) a certified letter, and if they’re in town, we try to getthe police department to deliver a letter as well,” Gennaro said.”If I haven’t got the receipt back, we’ll run an ad in the paperalso.”

After that, Gennaro said, the landowner has the opportunity todiscuss it with the city. However, if he or she does not show up,the city will clean the property then bill the landowner on theirtaxes.

Currently the old welding factory is being used for storage by aconstruction company, Gennaro said.

“It would go about the same way as the houses,” he said. “I knowthey have talked about it a few times.”

Meanwhile, the roof has recently been taken off the old waterplant, he said, and the city is eyeing the way to deal with therest of the property. The possible cost of taking it down, as wellas the process, is one that rides on the fact that the old plant isso well-built.

“That building is concrete with a lot of steel in it, and it’s notsomething that will come down easy,” Gennaro said. “The walls areconcrete, 10 to 12 inches thick, it’s real well built.”

At this point, though, city officials don’t see another use for thebunker-like building, so current discussion has it being taken downas soon as a game plan is in place, authorities said.

Meanwhile, Moreton said an 8-foot privacy fence will be built onthe east side of the multi-modal building to help block the sightof some of the other surrounding buildings which may not make thebest impression on visitors arriving in Brookhaven for the firsttime.

“The trains just don’t come through the most beautiful part oftown, unfortunately,” said Moreton.