Snow, ice falling off downtown roof again

Arts Block building closed

Arts Block sidewalk closure on Thursday due to faling snow from roof.  Recorder/Paul Franz

Arts Block sidewalk closure on Thursday due to faling snow from roof. Recorder/Paul Franz

GREENFIELD — The owner of the downtown building known as the Arts Block has had to close it again because ice and snow are threatening to fall four stories to the sidewalk and street below.

Once again, a recent snowstorm has created a hazard for pedestrians and parked cars.

Edward Wierzbowski, owner of the building, said there are offices and a restaurant housed inside and both had to close on Thursday, when the town’s building inspector deemed the situation hazardous.

The sidewalks along the building on both Main Street and Court Square have been cordoned off by the town and at least four parking spaces have been closed until the roof is cleared of snow and ice.

Wierzbowski said he is hoping for a warm-up soon.

“If the temperature would just get to about 40 degrees, all of the snow and ice would be gone in about three hours,” he said.

Wierzbowski said he has received the building permit he needs from the town to install snow guards on the roof and has sent a deposit to his roofer.

“This problem should be taken care of within the next several weeks,” he said.

Wierzbowski said this is the third year in a row that he has had to contend with the problem of falling snow and ice. He said he is just happy that no one has been hurt.

He said he purchased a type of snow blocker called snow pads the first time it happened, but they haven’t worked like he would have liked. He said the pads are installed across the entire roof, like floor mats, and are supposed to provide a textured surface that prevents snow from sliding.

“So now, we’ll install the guards,” which he said are installed at the edges of a roof and catch the snow that begins to melt and moves toward the edge.

He said guards release only small amounts at a time.

Wierzbowski said the roof is an 1869 mansard roof.

“I never should have put vinyl up there,” he said. “My problem is a combination of the wrong roof and global warming.”

The building inspector’s office said it is working with Wierzbowski to make sure everyone is safe and the area around the building is secure.

The 17,000-square-foot building was built by George Arms in 1869 and was known as the Arms Block until Wierzbowski renamed it. The building housed Clark’s Sports Shop for many years.

“I took an old building and tried to retrofit it and make it work in the 21st century and it didn’t work,” said Wierzbowski, who said he will get it open as soon as possible.

“We are at the mercy of the snow and temperatures at this point,” he said.

Wierzbowski said he hoped to reopen the building by the weekend.

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