East Hartford edges closer to purchasing Church Corners Inn

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Aug. 5—EAST HARTFORD — The town is advancing toward the purchase of a problem-causing property at 860 Main St. in attempt to improve the downtown area.

At its meeting on July 26, the Real Estate Acquisition and Disposition Committee, which is comprised of three Town Council members, unanimously supported the purchase of the Church Corners Inn.

The committee also decided that the matter be moved to the entire council for discussion and vote on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Before doing so, the plan to purchase the Church Corners Inn must be presented at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

According to Mayor Mike Walsh, the town and the owner of the property have agreed on a price of $950,000, pending the approval of the Town Council.

If approved, the town would use state bonds to purchase the property.

"We need to buy that building, not to renovate it, but simply to control it and to stabilize Main Street," Walsh said.

According to a report by Police Chief Scott Sansom, there have been 262 calls for service to 860 Main St. this year, which includes two death investigations, seven panhandling violations, and 27 disputes.

Additionally, the report noted that there have been more than 2,300 calls in the last five years, including 108 noise complaints, six death investigations, 76 disputes, eight aggravated assaults, 13 fights, and eight robberies.

The restaurant known as Beso Lounge and Restaurant, which occupies the first floor of the building, has also received complaints of its own.

Health and Social Services Director Laurence Burnsed reported that the department has had to conduct six inspections due to complaints involving the restaurant over the past year.

"Government only steps in when the private sector really doesn't have a place or doesn't do its job," Walsh said. "Church Corners Inn is destabilizing downtown."

Walsh added that if the town is able to purchase the property, it would "take it down to the bones," leaving just the foundation and structure of the building untouched. Once that is done, Walsh stated that the town would then seek a developer for the property.

Collin covers East Windsor and Windsor Locks for the Journal Inquirer.