Published April 30, 2012 11:45 am
By Casey Farrar Sentinel Staff
BRATTLEBORO — First came a fire, then a flood.
But despite disasters that battered Brattleboro’s downtown last year, a hopeful spirit is visible today in the streets of the bustling town just over the New Hampshire border.
And residents and business owners displaced by last April’s devastating fire who spoke to The Sentinel last week say they’ve been able to find some good among the challenges of the past year.
There are obvious signs, such as a bright yellow banner hanging from the corner of the Brooks House — the four-story building in the heart of downtown that was severely damaged in a fire April 17, 2011. It reads: “The One and Only Brattleboro — Brooks House Rising 2011-2012.”
But it can be noticed in more subtle ways, too, from the dozens of pedestrians crisscrossing the streets and sidewalks on a recent weekday afternoon, to the acoustic guitar notes coming from a street performer seated on the stoop of the gutted building.
The scene is a far cry from just over a year ago, when several streets including Main and High streets, were blocked off by fire trucks, police cars and ambulances. Back then, the thrum of traffic was replaced by the hammering and sawing of workers removing the charred bits of roof from part of the building, and the air smelled like a campfire. (more…)