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TELL US: What's the Biggest Eyesore in Town?

Manchester Patch wants to know what you think is the biggest eyesore in Manchester?

2012 was a good year for Manchester in terms of problem properties and unsightly areas being demolished, redeveloped or outright eliminated. 

The town finally torn down the dilapidated Broad Street Parkade, began a reconstruction of the Broad Street area itself and is in the process of foreclosing on the blighted Nichols properties directly across from the Parkade. While a private developer tore down the former KMart site on Spencer Street, and Walmart is planning to build a new super center at the location. 

But Manchester Patch wants to know what areas of town you think are in need of a facelift or a boast? 

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Tell us what you think the biggest "eyesore" currently plaguing Manchester is in the comment section below. 

Frank February 04, 2013 at 09:57 AM
tent city, tinker building and other junky tenements on and behind main, several houses in the wadsworth street area, the dump, that block of stores across from citgo on west center, several houses on west center from main to broad, the empty walmart building by the mall and empty shop rite building (6 months after the new walmart opens on spencer street). Our rail to trail is pretty gross compared to the Vernon side. The town has made great progress on abandoned commercial properties, now it is time to deal with abandoned residential properties as well as dealing with landlords and homeowners who let occupied buildings turn into eyesores. Also we probably shouldn't have random unsafe, unhealthy, and illegal homeless encampments all around town, that is pretty obvious I guess. However the town has made zero progress on that either from the trespassers side or the landowners side (both of whom are breaking the law by creating or allowing the unhealthy and unsafe temporary housing that exists in said encampments)
JK124 February 04, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Squire Village. It's a den of nothing more than drugs, violence, and crime. Sure, not all the people there are criminal by any means - but the place is still a complete hellhole.
paige February 04, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Spruce Street
Greg February 04, 2013 at 03:25 PM
young men with their pants down below their butt,,,talk about an eye sore
Mary Ann February 04, 2013 at 05:33 PM
All of Center Street, West Center and Middle Turnpike. Spending money on Broad Street is great but it's akin to renovating one room in the house making everything else look even more shabby by comparison! Good start but improvements need to continue.
kathi sanborn February 04, 2013 at 05:41 PM
the strip of buildings along Center st. that consist of tattoo parlors and empty store fronts
Deb February 04, 2013 at 06:37 PM
I think the others have the right idea. Center Street!
Bob Hetzel February 04, 2013 at 07:32 PM
The biggest eyesore in town is the one that is so pervasive that we no longer even see it: Roadside trash, litter, graffiti, and piles of cigarette butts (especially at major intersections). See Hilliard Street from Adams to Bigelow Brook, Woodbridge from Oakland to Starkweather, Adams from Center to West Center, and Sheldon Rd from Oakland to the post office, to start. We need a cultural change: "Pride in Manchester." Every day.
scott February 04, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Spruce st and all of the side streets all the way down.
tina bourke February 05, 2013 at 01:29 AM
I thought I read somewhere that tent city is not illegal due to the property and business owners willingness to allow them to live there? I'm not sure its an eyesore either? Homelessness is a complicated social issue. I only hope it is addressed with more outreach and badly needed additional transitional housing in town.
Frank February 05, 2013 at 01:48 AM
No it is illegal however the town is just choosing to not enforce the law. The people living there are trespassing but the landowners don't want the bad press of calling the police on the people. It is also illegal for people who own the land to just let people live on it without providing basic health services like plumbing for example. The landowners don't want to be seen as mean for getting the police to remove the tent city, the police don't really want to bother with removing the tent city, so in the end we get tent cities. I say it is a eyesore because of the garbage that is all up in the woods and into the stop n shop parking lot. Not to mention the 5 gallon buckets of human waste that are just sitting around in clear sight. We have enough transitional housing in town that the tent city folks "choose" to not use, we don't need more. South Windsor and Glastonbury need services and housing but of course Manchester has become the hub. We also have great outreach services but at some point when you say to people "hey come and get help" and they say "no thanks I choose to live in tent city on land I don't have any rights to" the outreach becomes useless without law enforcement. While everyone is worried about looking bad there are people living in unsafe, unhealthy, and illegal conditions. The fact that we let people in our town to "choose" to live in such an environment is the meanest thing of all. A town that looks the other way to such problems is the real eyesore.
tina bourke February 05, 2013 at 12:56 PM
@Frank, you are very insightful with your post! It does appear to be an enabling system? If no one wants to address it, the businesses, the owners, the police, or the homeless? Or another way to look at it is, they are addressing it? It has gone on for years & years & years now. It is correct, no one can force the homeless into homes, not even the outreach workers. If it is as you say excellent services, this would then have to include the outreach, assessment, attempts to engage and build trust. This would then be a measure of a quasi support system and safety net then. Having said that, I would still like to see more transitionals housing. This leaves the issue then of why it may bother you personally so much? Nothing wrong with that if it does but I hope it is for the homeless people and not the so called black mark eyesore for the town which I don't see it personally that way but it is okay to disagree. But for the grace of GOD, there go I....
Frank February 05, 2013 at 02:31 PM
@tina I am personally offended because there are people in our community who are allowed to live in an inhuman environment. It is wrong and unkind. I think there should be more transitional housing just not in Manchester. Each town should have enough services so that people can get help in their own community. I think we should have housing for all people, even if they can't afford it, even if they choose to not receive substance abuse or mental health services. I believe it is more affordable in the long run to pay for it. I am honestly willing to pay more taxes so that people aren't forced to live in the woods. As somebody with a close personal connection to mental health and addiction issues I can't help but take it personally. I dread to think of someone I care about being allowed to live in a parking lot just because they are suffering and say they don't want help.
Margery Longley February 05, 2013 at 11:17 PM
Definitely the section of (West) Center St near the tatto parlor and ajoining stores and across the street from them as well. Marge
jpk February 06, 2013 at 01:03 AM
The VIP store on Oakland Street, hands down.
tina bourke February 06, 2013 at 01:43 AM
@Frank, so sorry, never meant any offense and wouldn't question your willingness to invest emotionally or with extra taxes as I don't even know you. I think they accept volunteers for outreach and providing donations, blankets etc.? I know the alternatives are also dire and severe. They cannot be forced into services or housing. What do you suggest?
Frank February 06, 2013 at 02:27 AM
@tina I'm not offended it is a legitimate concern you bring up because of the way that those who have mental health/addiction issues while also being in poverty are often viewed by communities as "trash" to "send away". Well I think the state of CT should mandate that each town has appropriate services for the size of their population in the same way that they try to make each town have appropriate and equitable housing and education. I know this often fails but the state still tries to enforce it (think of the rise of magnet schools spread around the whole area). But I think the biggest change would be a shift away from emergency shelters and transitional housing to long term permanent supportive house (just like the new one near Burger King). These kinds of housing situations are more affordable to taxpayers than shelters, emergency rooms, and prisons, where the most vulnerable often end up, and have better treatment success rates than most other, plus higher life satisfaction rates for people living there. Problem is 80% of towns fight this housing tooth and nail to keep needy people out of their town so we end up with not enough and all of it concentrated in a few towns and cities. As for right now with tent city I do think people can be forced into housing, the way that we force people to wear clothes or pay taxes or whatever other laws we have. It sounds harsh but I think it is better to have folks in a room against their will than freely in a tent in the parking lot.
tina bourke February 06, 2013 at 01:47 PM
@At any given time you and I could become homeless. Not only due to M.I., or S.A., some due to circumstances, coping, divorce etc., I would only suggest that you really ask your gut what your motivation is here? This requires extreme introspection, self awareness and honesty. You don't need to share it but start with; do you want them out to make you feel better, the town "look" good, or for them. I'm not sure if "those" people have mental illness or substance abuse because I haven't met them personally? I do know there is a positive correlation with that pop. & homelessness, suicide. I will say years ago, I would have said the exact same thing you did!! Forcing them though has proven not to work and has been shown to be the most inhumane method there is. Yes there is one transitional. In my humble opinion, the same agencies get grants & funding and also if you really look at "non profits" there is no cap for salaries. Higher level administrators can get a "big" salary for helping the poor when you could easily get many to do it for far less. Now I'm sure I just started a fire storm. We need more transitionals. I'm not sure how the new one is set up but if there is a year stay with adequate staffing including case managers, trained counselors, etc... As for "tent city," Is anyone doing a long term study on it? I would hope so. Just my not asking you to agree with them....
Frank February 06, 2013 at 02:29 PM
I think the new one has a bottom floor with case managers and counselors and then the housing upstairs. There are people who need permanent supportive housing and I think this is what they are providing. I also agree with the need for more transitional housing just that it should not be all located in Manchester, we shouldn't have to service Glastonbury, south Windsor, and our own community. I'm going to make an educated guess that tent city residents have untreated mental illness and substance abuse because if they did not they would be allowed to stay at the shelter. The overwhelming majority of people in homelessness are that way because of circumstances like divorce/economic hardship etc just like you mentioned however the overwhelming percentage of them are in transitional housing. This is not the same demographic group as those in tent city. I take issue with our treatment of the persistently long term homeless population that refuse transitional housing. I think me and you mostly agree with the exception of how I think tent city residents should be forced into housing and the landowners should face legal consequences and you disagree. I don't think we will get each other to changes opinions on those basic beliefs but I'm happy to agree that we both want the people of our community to have better quality of life.
tina bourke February 06, 2013 at 03:42 PM
^Very sweet post! And for me I can't wait for the day when we can accept that it does exist in "our" town and we come to embrace it instead of reject it. Just like we, I, did when we showed all the love, depending on your age, and not asking, to Mr Cheney. And this prior to knowing and/or understanding Mr. Cheney's status in town......
paige February 06, 2013 at 06:32 PM
greg- so true. it's disgusting. and stupid.
paige February 06, 2013 at 06:37 PM
jpk. i agree. it's offensive, especially when one has young children, and i hope the ordinance in Manchester allowing these types of storefronts has been changed to prevent anymore from opening. personally, i would like to see all of those types of businesses thrown out of town; they set a bad example for all of our kids and make manchester look trashy.
Frank February 06, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Yeah I never knew him but people in town I work with talk about him a lot and what a fun character he was. Thing is that the people in his own town looked out for him and took care of him. These were the people who knew him and grew up with him. When all the services for folks are just in a few towns you lose the community and family connections. If you are raised in a rich town in CT and find yourself in homelessness you are going to have to move to manchester or windham or wherever to get help and you will lose your connections to the community you are from, that sucks.
tina bourke March 04, 2013 at 02:33 PM
I did know him. What I think you are referring to here is the NIBY issue = (not in my back yard?) I think the difference with Mr. Cheney is he was from a rich family, had status in town, and was not "homeless" as a result. I never knew his status at the time but came to know him as an individual. Do we look at his condition differently then? His "condition" and "stigma" being different because he came from wealth and as a result was not homeless. If his lot was different in life and this same man was homeless, as well as completely dependent on others how would you feel then??

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