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Hess waits to demo site

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A vacant gas station that was scheduled to become a “Hess Express” early last year will be demolition or tidied up, the community hopes.

Residents who live near the former Shell station at E. Tremont and Baisley avenues are becoming increasingly dismayed. The current building at the site was to be demolished to make way for a new gas station with a 24-hour store a year and a half ago, but nothing has happened.

While residents said they are not pleased with the planned 24-hour mart in the Hess Express, that will sell beer, many say they are now concerned with the condition of the property that has become a weed-strewn eyesore. Senator Jeff Klein has contacted the company, but so far no demolition has occurred.

“While I can understand the tough economic times that we are facing, having this site vacant without a start date has left many uneasy and the aforementioned site has become a community eyesore,” Klein stated in a July letter to Jay Wilson, vice president of investor relations for Hess Corporation. “With this is mind, I respectfully request that your company publically announce a date to begin construction and every effort be made to [start] as soon as possible.”

Hess Corporation said it is still trying to get the demolition permit, and that the company plans to swiftly demolish the existing building – a former gas station with service bays – as soon as a permit is issued. However, Hess has yet to set a start date for construction.

“We don’t have a date for the demolition but we do expect to begin shortly after we receive the permits, which are already in the works,” said Lorrie Hecker, Hess Corporation spokeswoman. “We are certainly committed to placing a Hess Express station at the location, but right now we don’t have a specific date for constructi­on.”

Community leaders are concerned that the vacant lot at 3349 E. Tremont Avenue is leaving the wrong impression to those passing through the neighborhood.

“This vacant lot doesn’t make our neighborhood look nice and we shouldn’t have to drive down E. Tremont Avenue and see this,” said Mary Jane Musano of the Waterbury-LaSalle Civic Association. “Hess needs to maintain the property in some kind of fashion so that it isn’t an eyesore while it remains vacant – and I don’t mean just putting up work board fences. Hess owes this to us if they want to do business in our neighborho­od.”

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