A community improvement and neighborhood restoration project is moving forward in Danbury. The City has completed negotiations with the bank that holds the title to the blighted Octagon House on Spring Street. Mayor Mark Boughton says they did come in at a number approved by the City Council.
The listing price is about $195,000, but Boughton says that's above what the property value is worth given its condition. He did not elaborate on the deal that was reached. The vacant and decaying house was in foreclosure. It has attracted vandalism, squatting and general blight in recent years.
Attorneys are putting together closing documents, and Boughton expects to close in the next week or two.
Boughton says the City owning this property would provide stability to the neighborhood in response to resident's complaints and concerns. The area has become a magnet for drug dealers and prostitutes.
Danbury officials have identified several grants that will help renovate the house. Permission to apply for an historic grant will be presented to the City Council.
Boughton wants to house the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team and a police substation on the property. There are more officers on the streets now that the City has civilian dispatching, and more officers are coming out of the academy. He says the bike patrol and other related officers would likely operate out of the substation. He wants to convert the upstairs into a community room for residents to use. The backyard would become community garden monitored by a non-profit.
Boughton says the building needs $200,000 to $300,000 worth of work because it's fallen into disrepair. The yard also needs some upkeep, and the parking would have to be reconfigured.
It's one of only a handful of 8-sided houses left in the country and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1852 by John Earle, an innovator in the hatting industry and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The house was converted to apartments, but abandoned by its owner in 2008.