Two years after the city first indicated a desire to buy an old stone house at the entrance to Rockwell Park, councilors are poised to follow through on the $218,000 deal.
The delay was caused by a family dispute over the fate of the 15 Dutton Ave. house – a dispute that’s not completely settled – but officials are no longer willing to wait for a clear resolution.
“My patience on this matter has reached an end,” said city Councilor Mike Rimcoski. “The time has come.”
The Real Estate Committee has asked councilors to approve the purchase of the Bevivino family house at the Sept. 8 City Council meeting. Normally, councilors go along with committee recommendations.
The city would like to buy the Dutton Avenue house where the Bevivino family has lived for decades, tear it down and use the property for the historic park.
It has already bought an adjacent lot from the family for $63,000.
Salvatore Vitrano, the attorney who represents three of the four siblings who jointly own the house, said “a great deal of misinformation” has been spread through the community about the deal.
He said that all four siblings signed an agreement approved by a state judge in February 2008 to sell the house to the city for its assessed value. But one, Jan Bevivino, is living in the house and trying to get a mortgage so she can buy it instead.
Vitrano said the rest of the family would rather sell it to her than the city, but it appears she can’t get a mortgage approved.
Jan Bevivino said that her first application was turned down and another is in the works. She said, though, that money is tight and it’s hard to get approved.
“I’m having a hard time,” she told the real estate panel.
Councilors said they sympathized with her, but the reality of the situation is that if the city doesn’t buy the house, it will be sold on the open market instead.
“We’ve been very patient. We’ve waited and waited and waited,” said city Councilor Frank Nicastro, who heads the panel.
He said if the city doesn’t act “somebody else is going to get” the house instead, which would prevent the city from taking a key property at the gateway to the park.
Rimcoski said that Jan Bevivino has more time to get the financing in place to buy it herself. He said that if she can get a mortgage approved before the council meeting, he’s sure she’ll be able to buy the house.
The city is in the middle of a multi-year, $7 million project to remake Rockwell Park by adding more recreational facilities, better parking, a nicer entrance and other amenities aimed at restoring the historic West End park and bolstering its use.
Park Director Ed Swicklas has said the 15 Dutton Ave. property would make a good addition to the park.
If the city buys the house next month, there are only two other pieces of property it has indicated it would like to have to open up the park entrance and enhance neighboring Muzzy Field – a small apartment building and a former gas station.
Officials have said the city’s policy is to try to buy them when they come on the market. The city is already working on the possible purchase of the gas station.
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