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First FEMA aid house falls in Jay

Erin Himmel of the Town of Jay Highway Department demolishes the first of 28 Essex County Homes in Jay that fall under federal and state funding for removal in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

Erin Himmel of the Town of Jay Highway Department demolishes the first of 28 Essex County Homes in Jay that fall under federal and state funding for removal in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— There was a house on Randy’s Lane that is no longer standing.

The first house on the riverside road in the Town of Jay was destroyed by Town of Jay and Essex County Highway Department personnel March 19, the first of 28 properties to be destroyed under FEMA and state funding in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

The double-wide house located at 11 Randy’s Lane and formerly owned by William and Tammy Freeborn is the first of three that will be dropped on a road that only has four dwellings and the first of 23 properties to be razed in the town.

“It feels good to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel as we and the owners of these flooded parcels begin to put this long and drawn out process behind us and begin the healing process,” Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas said. “We could be doing two-to-three houses a day once we really get rolling and get through all of the permitting hoops.”

Douglas said some properties are still being worked on in order to clear the title.

“Some have not been closed on because of deed and debt issues,” he said. “[County Attorney] Dan Manning and Mike Mascarenas are working on that. The properties will first be owned by the county and within the next year or so the property will be turned over to the respective town.”

The properties can be used for parks and recreation, but cannot contain any permanent structures.

“There is a very fine list of what you can do,” Douglas said. “Our main goal in Jay is that we have been looking for some sort of playground for a while, but we also want to make sure it is far enough a way from the river and roads.”

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