The town has sent letters to the owner of Diamond Run Mall and to the owner of the former Friendly’s telling them they need to take better care of their properties.
Town Select Board Chairman Joshua Terenzini said Tuesday the board recently voted to send letters to Zamias Services, owner of the closed Diamond Run Mall, and to SIC Property LLC, based in Boca Raton, Florida, which, according to town records, is responsible for the former Friendly’s off Route 7.
Terenzini was critical of the Diamond Run Mall owner earlier this month, as well about how the property is being maintained.
“Unfortunately, the mall did a poor job of securing the facility,” he said. “We know there are folks going in and out of the building at their pleasure, and the big concern now is the upkeep and maintenance of the facility. The grass is over two feet high and it doesn’t seem like anything is being done in terms of facility maintenance from the outside looking in.”
The mall itself is largely hidden from view from Route 7, but the entrances are prominent and overgrown, according to Terenzini.
He said complaints from residents prompted the letters.
Terenzini said there are safety concerns regarding the mall, which officially stopped operating as a mall in late 2019 after years of decline.
Friendly’s closed in late 2018, as did its Bennington location.
“It’s really important for the health, security and safety of the community, that the mall ownership do the right thing and make sure the parking lot, the grass and so on, is taken care of in light of what’s happening in our community, state and nation right now,” said Terenzini.
He referred to the COVID-19 pandemic which has hit the economy on a level not seen in generations. Terenzini noted that Spartan Arena, which is next to the mall, remains the overflow site for Rutland Regional Medical Center’s COVID-19 patients should that need ever arise.
“We want them to act as if their businesses are still running,” said Terenzini. “We know that if Friendly’s restaurant or the Diamond Run Mall were still in operation they would never have allowed their grass and maintenance to go down the toilet like this.”
A call left with Zamias wasn’t returned Tuesday. Attempts to contact the owner of the former Friendly’s property weren’t successful either.