Officials hope tour of Potter Hill Mill will jump-start a solution
WESTERLY — The mighty and massive granite blocks that make up the walls of part of the Potter Hill Mill remain in place, but the floors inside are falling in on each other. Other buildings on the site, made of brick and wood, are in various states of advanced decay and decrepitude.
Members of the Westerly and Hopkinton town councils, along with state lawmakers and representatives of environmental organizations, saw the mill up close and personal Tuesday afternoon during a tour led by John Dorsey, the court-appointed lawyer who is serving as special master of the property. Dorsey was appointed in 2019 after petitioning a Superior Court judge, on behalf of the Westerly Town Council, to place the property in receivership. The town has been trying since at least the 1980s to have the dilapidated buildings demolished.
Dorsey said his efforts are focused on supporting efforts to address the dam that once harnessed the energy of the Pawcatuck River to supply power for the mill, which closed in the late 1950s, and dealing with the safety and health hazards posed by the decrepit buildings. The dam and its accessory parts are not being maintained, and some are pushing to have it removed to make the river safer for kayakers and other paddlers and to improve fish passage.
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