NORRIDGEWOCK — The town is seeking bids on the demolition of a vacant house that has been deemed a threat to public safety.

Town Manager Richard LaBelle said the house on 14 River Road, which is owned by Teresa Hilton, has been vacant for years and is known locally as “the beehive.” He said the town has received complaints about the empty house, and town officials have tried unsuccessfully to reach Hilton to discuss making the building safer.

“The town is moving ahead with an order to demolish the building,” LaBelle said.

The request for proposals is open until March 15, and LaBelle said he hopes the structure could be demolished within 30 days after that, but that depends on the weather. He said leaving bidding open until mid-March would help ensure the town receives quality bids.

Hilton could not be reached for comment. The lot is roughly 37,500 square feet, according to Redfin.com.

In addition to the demolition, the selected contractor also would be required to haul the materials to the town’s waste management center. He said once the process is completed, the cost of the demolition will be recouped by charging the property owner. He said for a similar project in Wilton, bids ranged from $5,600 to $9,800. He said while he hasn’t estimated what the project would cost Norridgewock, the town has to move ahead with it, no matter what.

“Regardless of the cost, it will be in the best interest of the town to have this building removed,” LaBelle said.

The property still will remain under Hilton’s ownership after the building is demolished. LaBelle said if fees are not paid, though, the town could foreclose on the property. He said that’s not the preferred path the town wants to take, but is the only way to proceed when the owner is unresponsive.

The building is close to the road, near other buildings and within walking distance of the downtown area, meaning pedestrians could go near it. He said the structure poses a threat to children and could also be a target of criminal mischief.

“To have the building exposed leaves the potential threat to the public,” LaBelle said.

LaBelle said he did not know for sure why the owner has not brought the structure into compliance, but said it was likely that the renovation would have been too expensive.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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