Jane Montanaro visited the WNPR studio this week to discuss a recent settlement agreement involving two threatened historic hotels in downtown Willimantic. Click here to listen to the conversation, starting at minute 16:12. Photo credit to WNPR, and here’s WNPR’s take:
In their heyday, Willimantic’s Hooker and Nathan Hale Hotels were considered among the most lavish accomodations halfway between New York and Boston.
But they have long sat idle. Most residents know little about the Hooker’s past other than that, by the 1980s and 1990s, the decaying structure turned into a notoriously gruesome boarding house for heroin addicts.
A settlement agreement reached between a developer, the state, and historic preservationists finally gives the community hope that the block on which they stand may soon be revived. Only it will be without the Hooker Hotel, which can be demolished under the agreement.
Today, we look at the compromise and what it means for blighted properties deemed historic in other Connecticut communities.
For more background, see also a Courant article citing Board Chair Sara Bronin.