Sanford mill's neighbors lament fire

Sanford residents reflect on abandoned buildings

SANFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --

When you ask people about the former Stetson Trust mill, it triggers a lot of sadness but also frustration and anger.
For one woman, the building represents everything that's wrong with Sanford and everything she wants changed.

The mill is the first thing Susan Sleeper sees when she walks out her door each morning.

It's a sight she loved but doesn’t anymore.
“You stand there and you close your eyes and it's almost like you can hear that history coming alive,” she said. “This should not have happened.”
Puddles and twisted burned metal are what's left the building Sleeper loves.
Even though it was abandoned, Susan saw the mill as a beautiful gateway to the past. 
“I keep thinking I would have loved to live back then … walk on those bridges from building to building, going to work and hearing that machinery and the talking,” she said.
Sanford's thriving past does not mirror its present.
Its reputation as ground zero for Maine's heroin epidemic overshadows the hands that built the city.
“These people that worked hard to build a future for this town, I'm sure they didn't want this for it,” said Sleeper.
Which is why Susan says someone needs to care for the historic mills still here.
Sleeper plans to write a letter to Sanford's mayor about how she feels.
Sanford city staff says if you’re about an abandoned building you live near, you can call you city or town.
However, there is usually very little that can be done right away. 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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