A little over two years after Adam Lanza killed 26 — including 20 children — at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., town leaders have decided to demolish the house where he began his massacre with the shooting of his mother, Nancy Lanza.
The 10 council members at the Legislative Council meeting Wednesday unanimously chose to accept a recommendation made by the Board of Selectmen — the executive arm of the government in most New England towns — to raze the 3,100 square-foot house, which sits on two acres. The city acquired the property in December from the Hudson City Savings Bank for the price of one dollar, according to councilman Daniel Honan.
“There’s some sense that it’s an attractive nuisance that will draw people to the neighborhood for voyeuristic purposes,” councilman George Ferguson said. “The general feeling among neighbors and among families affected was that it probably would be better not to have [the house] there.”
Ferguson added that First Selectman Pat Llodra had consulted with the community, especially with the families of the 26 killed by Lanza, prior to making a recommendation. This recommendation was mentioned during the Jan. 7 meeting of the council before being placed on Wednesday’s agenda.
A constituent letter from a resident living on the same street as the Lanzas’ house was read at the Jan. 7 meeting, urging the selectmen to tear down the house and return the property to a “wild, pre-construction state.” The letter suggested that this open space would preempt the property from becoming a magnet for the media.
According to the Newtown Bee, William J. LaCalamito, senior vice president for mortgage servicing at Hudson City Savings Bank, said that bank officials had made the decision to deed the property to the town in part because many of the bank’s employees and families have ties to Newtown.
The question of what will be done with the property, originally part of Lanza’s estate, after the razing remains to be decided, however.
“I think there’s a general consensus, and a feeling at least on Pat Llodra’s part, that during her tenure [the property] will stay in a natural state,” Ferguson said.
According to Ferguson, Llodra is interested in placing certain provisions on the deed of the property so that, if it were ever sold by the town, the revenue of that sale would be set aside for the families of those killed in the 2012 shooting.
Ferguson anticipates the actual demolition of the house to occur in April, and the cost of the demolition is estimated to run around $29,000, Llodra told the News-Times. The house itself was appraised at $523,620 in 2012, but had a $400,000 mortgage that Hudson City Savings Bank assumed in September.
Newtown tore down the original Sandy Hook School facility in 2013, and a new school building is currently under construction.