New London

Electric Boat offers to buy nearby homes

GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) - Electric Boat's $850-million expansion may be seen as a boom to the local economy but it may also be seen as a bust to the waterfront way of life for nearby residents.

The fog lifted for a few minutes Tuesday morning to reveal why residents on Eastern Point Road love living there so much.

"This is probably the only area left where you actually have a water view," said Rosann DiRoma.

Her next door neighbor even built a 30-thousand dollar granite porch to enjoy the view.

"Too bad they didn't let us know before I started this," said Frank Ricci.

He worked at Electric Boat for 34 years before retiring and his wife has now been there for fifty years. He says the expansion to acomodate building the new Columbia class submarine will be in the south yard across the street. It will include an assembly facility he says will stand 75 feet above the roadway.

Homeowners have expressed concern about their property values going down, losing their view of the Thames River and New London, and the noise and congestion that come with living next to an active construction site.

"It will totally block out New London," said Ricci.

"The building supposedly is going to be higher than the wires," said DiRoma.

DiRoma says all her neighbors support the expansion which will boost the local economy and create jobs but says it will also change more than their view.

"We're just all very... I can't even put into words. I could cry to be honest with you," said DiRoma. "It's gut wrenching."

Electric Boat is offering to buy eleven homes from those who live closest to the new construction and have the most concerns.

"It was less than the appraised value which is nothing," said Ricci. "That's 70 percent of the fair market value."

Electric Boat says if homeowners believe their houses has been undervalued they can have two appraisals done by licensed appraisers and then submit that information to EB which may adjust its offer.

But DiRoma doubts it would ever be enough to replicate what this location has offered her for the past 26 years. She can't imagine what they would do with her home if she sold.

"We have no idea," said DiRoma. "Nobody knows."

Homeowners were given until December to make what could be a life changing decision. They would be able to stay in their home for up to two years after the sale.


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