Fitchburg has downtown dilemma after Johnsonia razed, City Hall damaged

Sep 24, 2012 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Sentinel & Enterprise

It's been an agonizing sight for some to watch the once regal and historic downtown landmark, formerly the Johnsonia Hotel, be taken down brick by brick after being heavily damaged by fire in June 2011.

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1 - 20 of 31 Comments Last updated Oct 7, 2012
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Hugh Jass

Fitchburg, MA

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#1
Sep 24, 2012
 

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1. Lease/purchase 2 Caterpiller D9 bulldozers
2. Use the now available Johnsona lot as a staging area.
3. Point one dozer toward City Hall; point the other dozer toward the People's Bank Building.
4. Start 'em up and tell the dozer operators to knock down everything in their path.
5. Have each dozer cross Main St. and reverse the process.

BINGO! Now you have a start.
Parking

Gardner, MA

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#2
Sep 24, 2012
 
Free parking. No one is going to visit any businesses that may want to come if they can't park (for free) and walk a short distance. The Johnsonia land is still owned by Straight so the city really has no say about what happens with it. Tear down every other building and make parking, and they would fill up.
Cuckoos Nest

Gardner, MA

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#3
Sep 24, 2012
 
Exactly, that is privately owned land. Even if the Straights lose it to the city that will take a long time going thru the courts and so on.
Think About It

Westminster, MA

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#4
Sep 24, 2012
 

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Maybe Clark should give up some of that 4.1 Million he got and take care the tenets he screw out of all there stuff. Funny that fire started above Clarks apartment. Then he shut the building down and let the building open to the weather. WOW Does two + two = four??? Think about it!!
confused

Leominster, MA

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#5
Sep 24, 2012
 

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Think About It wrote:
Maybe Clark should give up some of that 4.1 Million he got and take care the tenets he screw out of all there stuff. Funny that fire started above Clarks apartment. Then he shut the building down and let the building open to the weather. WOW Does two + two = four??? Think about it!!
Really, you are accusing him of arson when the building was full? When the fire was called in several people were already in bed asleep, including a little girl. You think he would risk lives for money?
Guy Gadbois

Fitchburg, MA

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#6
Sep 25, 2012
 
"Parking," "Cuckoos Nest"-next time you are on Main Street take a long look at the building immediately to the rear of the Johnsonia lot...bee there for 20-odd years. It is a multi-story PARKING GARAGE that is seldom more than 1/4 full.
Call Allstate

Fitchburg, MA

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#7
Sep 25, 2012
 

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Think About It wrote:
Maybe Clark should give up some of that 4.1 Million he got and take care the tenets he screw out of all there stuff. Funny that fire started above Clarks apartment. Then he shut the building down and let the building open to the weather. WOW Does two + two = four??? Think about it!!
No renter's insurance? Tough crap. It's not the lamdlord's job to mcover their losses. These tenants need to stop whining like children and move on. The building is gone, your junk is gone, now you need to go away.
huh

Leominster, MA

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#8
Sep 25, 2012
 
Call Allstate wrote:
<quoted text>
No renter's insurance? Tough crap. It's not the lamdlord's job to mcover their losses. These tenants need to stop whining like children and move on. The building is gone, your junk is gone, now you need to go away.
Actually, it's not the renters but the condo owners who are still paying mortgages on non-existant homes. They got insurance money to relocate, but no relief on the mortgages yet.
Why

Westminster, MA

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#9
Sep 25, 2012
 

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I had a friend that lived in that building. Why wasn't she allowed to return to get her belongings out But Clark and his family did?? Why was all her jewelry stolen?? Why did Clark report the building was UN-safe and could fall down BUT the had a bulldozer on the third floor when they were taken it down. Why did he smell smoke and see the fire BEFORE the smoke alarms went off?? Lots of unanswered questions in peoples minds !!!
Cuckoos Nest

Fitchburg, MA

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#10
Sep 25, 2012
 
Guy Gadbois wrote:
"Parking," "Cuckoos Nest"-next time you are on Main Street take a long look at the building immediately to the rear of the Johnsonia lot...bee there for 20-odd years. It is a multi-story PARKING GARAGE that is seldom more than 1/4 full.
I didn't say anything about the parking I just agreed that there is nothing that the city can do with the land at this time because they do not own it.
huh

Leominster, MA

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#11
Sep 25, 2012
 
Cuckoos Nest wrote:
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I didn't say anything about the parking I just agreed that there is nothing that the city can do with the land at this time because they do not own it.
As long as he keeps up on the taxes this time. After he got the insurance settlement he went to city hall and paid $230,000 in back water bills and property taxes. They let him slide a looooong time for it to get that high, but never again. Too bad it takes almost a year to seize properties for defaulting on their taxes.
uh huh

Gardner, MA

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#12
Sep 25, 2012
 

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Facts:

In May 2011 Straight owed more than $200,000 in back taxes he couldn't pay.

At the end of May 2011 the city started foreclosure proceedings on the property. In 12 weeks Straight would lose ownership of the building.

Four weeks later it burned down.

Straight's insurance policy was $6 million.
Think About It

Westminster, MA

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#13
Sep 25, 2012
 

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uh huh wrote:
Facts:
In May 2011 Straight owed more than $200,000 in back taxes he couldn't pay.
At the end of May 2011 the city started foreclosure proceedings on the property. In 12 weeks Straight would lose ownership of the building.
Four weeks later it burned down.
Straight's insurance policy was $6 million.
2 + 2 = 4

Bad part is he NEVER once showed remorse towards any body who lived there, He and his family got of their belongings and locked everyone else out to lose everything. Must be nice to walk away with 4.1 Million. Always remember Karma is a bitch
Cuckoos Nest

Fitchburg, MA

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#14
Sep 25, 2012
 

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Why wrote:
I had a friend that lived in that building. Why wasn't she allowed to return to get her belongings out But Clark and his family did?? Why was all her jewelry stolen?? Why did Clark report the building was UN-safe and could fall down BUT the had a bulldozer on the third floor when they were taken it down. Why did he smell smoke and see the fire BEFORE the smoke alarms went off?? Lots of unanswered questions in peoples minds !!!
The City had dates setup and the tenants were notified of the dates and were escorted by the fire department in and out of the building. If a resident did not have any contact information then they missed out. I am sure most of the resident's belongings were contaminated with asbestos dust. I know if I lived there I wouldn't want my items.

Most people who are awake do smell smoke before alarms go off.

The building was unsafe and that was deemed by the State and City structural engineers. The bulldozer was operated by a person who was a qualified demolition and heavy equipment operator. He was insured thru his company and making $300 an hour to risk his life. I don't believe any of the residents had any insurance in case the building collapsed on them as they were in it retrieving their items. I am sure if something happened when they were in there they would have a lawsuit against Mr.Straight and also the City and State that is why they had escorts who would be sued instead of the City or State.

Sorry people, it was a fire, it happens every day to someone and families lose everything. Shit happens. I don't see other families who were victims of a fire baking drama cakes. If I lived there I would have covered my ass and made sure I had insurance and everything was documented and kept in another location in case something happened. I did with my apartments I had lived in and I have done it with my home now. I know a family who lost their home and everything to a fire and they cannot believe how these residents are reacting, what do they think that they are special or something? Have some consideration for other fire victims for god's sake.

It is called being PREPARED !
Why

Westminster, MA

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#15
Sep 25, 2012
 

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They were allowed ten minutes to get what they can that fit in two tubs, Then they had to pay a contractor to get anything else only after almost six months after the fire. Clark was in there two days after the fire cleaning out his stuff and less not talk about the stuff he was seen taking out a week before the fire....

What happen to all the jewelery that was stolen out of the apartments??

Clark,Matt were the only ones in the building.

OH Well we will never really know what happen but in a lot of peoples minds 2+2=4
You Know Who

Holliston, MA

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#16
Sep 26, 2012
 

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"Kaddy said that the thought of losing both buildings made him physically ill".....I thought that Kaddy ALREADY WAS physically ill. The story goes that has been out on some sort of long term job related injury and he can no longer perform any lawman duties...

Can you suddenly become physically ill even though you have been claiming to be physically ill for the past 10 years as you collect your tax free monthly checks? Does Kaddy now have a double dose of physical ailments?

Oh well, at least he is somehow healthy enough to continue to run his two poorly named businesses!

Since: Feb 10

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#17
Sep 27, 2012
 

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You Know Who wrote:
"Kaddy said that the thought of losing both buildings made him physically ill".....I thought that Kaddy ALREADY WAS physically ill. The story goes that has been out on some sort of long term job related injury and he can no longer perform any lawman duties...
Can you suddenly become physically ill even though you have been claiming to be physically ill for the past 10 years as you collect your tax free monthly checks? Does Kaddy now have a double dose of physical ailments?
Oh well, at least he is somehow healthy enough to continue to run his two poorly named businesses!
Welcome back- You Know Who. I believe those two businesses are owned by his wife. I still can't figure out how anyone could run a business on such a hairpin turn like that. And there's absolutely no parking anywhere in sight of the place. Heck, it's even dangerous just trying to get at the front door.
Really

Westminster, MA

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#18
Sep 27, 2012
 

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Stamos wrote:
<quoted text>Welcome back- You Know Who. I believe those two businesses are owned by his wife. I still can't figure out how anyone could run a business on such a hairpin turn like that. And there's absolutely no parking anywhere in sight of the place. Heck, it's even dangerous just trying to get at the front door.
What does this have to do with Clark and the Johnsonia building?????
You Know Who

Holliston, MA

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#19
Sep 27, 2012
 
Stamos wrote:
<quoted text>Welcome back- You Know Who. I believe those two businesses are owned by his wife. I still can't figure out how anyone could run a business on such a hairpin turn like that. And there's absolutely no parking anywhere in sight of the place. Heck, it's even dangerous just trying to get at the front door.
Stamos, thanks for the "welcome back". I have to admit it, you actually sound sincere about it!

And, all along I thought that you didn't even like me! You suprise me, you frisky little rascal you!
Parking

Gardner, MA

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#20
Sep 27, 2012
 
Guy Gadbois wrote:
"Parking," "Cuckoos Nest"-next time you are on Main Street take a long look at the building immediately to the rear of the Johnsonia lot...bee there for 20-odd years. It is a multi-story PARKING GARAGE that is seldom more than 1/4 full.
Jumping on the sarcastic train... I guess you missed a word... it was 'free'. There's plenty of places to pay to park your car in order to grace the businesses with your presence.

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