By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Every week it seems that someone is complaining about the cars parked at the old Wonderland Dog Track or for that matter the condition of the buildings and when they will be torn down.
In terms of the parking situation in the Wonderland area, Arrigo said the situation maybe confusing as there are two parking areas. One is located at Wonderland Marketplace and the other across the street at the old dog park.
The parking at Wonderland Market is used as overflow parking from the NECCO site on American Legion Highway. The License Commission recently granted permission for up to 72 cars to be parked at Wonderland Marketplace.
In July of 2013, the City Council granted a special permit for the Wonderland Dog Track side for car parking and that permit expired in July 1, 2015. With that agreement, the owners, CBW Lending, put $100,000 in an escrow account and for the last five years the old dog track buildings have remained vacant.
The city is allowed to take the $100,000 and continue to fine the owners of Wonderland for the condition of the property. The fine could be $1,000 a day more than the city gets for each stored car, which is $25 per car per year.
“The City still has an agreement with the ownership that they need to make some progress when it comes to demolition by early June,” Arrigo said. “With that agreement they have put $100,000 in escrow. That money is being held aside. With that they agreed to either sell the property or start the process of demolishing the property.”
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers, as well as other councillors, have been very vocal about the fine and the fees. Powers has asked mayor to communicate with ownership and appear before the city council.
As for the potential demolition of the building. There appears to be an ongoing talk between the owners and a potential buyer about the demolition of the building. One side is talking a cost of $2 million to demo the buildings and the other side is saying its $4 million. The situation involves whether to use union or non-union workers.
“There are some question about how much it’s going to cost to demo the property,” Arrigo said.
No word yet on when the owners may appear before the city council.