Thursday, April 3, 2014
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Some Newtown residents are calling for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter's home to be torn down and replaced with a park or nature preserve, according to a new community survey.
The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation received more than 1,600 responses to the survey it released Monday on town residents' unmet needs in the wake of the December 2012 shootings. The foundation has been deciding how to distribute more than $11 million in donations made in response to the shootings, which left 20 first-graders and six educators dead.
While most of the survey responses said money for mental health counseling and other family expenses are top priorities, a small percentage of community members mentioned funds to buy and tear down Adam Lanza's home, said Jennifer Barahona, the foundation's executive director. She said several people who live near the Lanza house said in the survey that it should be razed.
"That's not something we're considering at this time," Barahona said. "It's really outside of our scope."
The house in Newtown is where Lanza, 20, lived with his mother, Nancy Lanza, and shot her to death before the school killings. It's about 5 miles from the school, which has been demolished as part of the plan to build a new building on the same property. Adam Lanza killed himself at the school as police arrived.
Nancy Lanza's property remains tied up in probate court proceedings. After her death, it was turned over to her ex-husband, Peter Lanza, and their other son, Ryan, according to court documents. Town records show the 3,200-square-foot colonial home and 2-acre property has an appraised value of about $524,000.
Lawyers in the probate case didn't immediately return messages Wednesday seeking comment.
"There really is nothing we can do," Barahona said. "The estate is in probate and it's likely to be there for years to come. I also imagine there would be lawsuits against the estate at some point."
There have been no talks among town officials about buying the property or doing anything with it, First Selectman Pat Llodra's office said.
The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation has about $4 million left after giving more than $7 million to the 40 families most affected by the shootings.
The foundation recently approved $200,000 in spending. That includes $75,000 for out-of-pocket mental health costs for families, $75,000 for a "financial needs fund" for those affected by the shootings, $40,000 for public education and training on how to respond to signs of trauma and other mental health concerns, and $10,000 for community-wide educational programming.