Stonington - The town has ordered the owners of the long-vacant Connecticut Casting Mill on Stillman Avenue in Pawcatuck to repair holes in the fencing and building that people have been using to access the dilapidated building.
First Selectman Edward Haberek said Friday that graffiti has been painted inside, and there are makeshift skateboard ramps in the building.
He said the town is worried someone could get injured in the building or that a fire or criminal activity could occur there.
Haberek said the town told a representative of the owners, Pawcatuck Landing LLC, this week that it has to immediately make the repairs and secure the property. Investar officials could not be reached for comment Friday.
If the work is not done, Haberek said the town will send a demand letter to Investar.
Haberek said he has also asked police to step up patrols around the property, which lies next to the Pawcatuck River.
Pawcatuck Landing also owes the town $12,425 in back taxes. While the town could put the property up for sale to recoup the taxes, Haberek said that is not something the town is likely to do because if no one bids on it, the town could end up owning a property that needs a costly environmental cleanup.
"We'd rather work with the owner to get it cleaned up," he said.
Haberek said owners are interested in cleaning up and redeveloping the site but has been hampered by the economy. Haberek has made it a priority of his administration to force the owners of blighted buildings to make improvements and has cited owners under the town's blight ordinance.
In January 2011, the roof of the southern portion of the mill collapsed, creating an unsafe situation, according to the town. The town took Pawcatuck Landing to court to force it to tear down that portion of the building after the company delayed doing the work. Last fall, the company agreed to repair the damage.
In 2005, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a plan by Investar Redevelopment LLC of Worcester to build 15 condominiums in the existing 18,000-square-foot, four-story brick mill at the north end of the site along the Pawcatuck River. Investar is no longer involved in the project.
An additional 24 units would have been located in two new buildings.
Those plans never came to fruition, as Pawcatuck Landing has been unable to line up money for environmental cleanup of the PCB, lead, mercury and other industrial contamination on the 1.2-acre site.