MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College’s decision to donate $9 million toward an in-town bridge project at Cross Street represents the third substantial town-gown partnership to have come to the fore this year.
November 30, 2007
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — For more than a half-century, Middlebury’s quest for a second in-town crossing of the Otter Creek has moved slower than rush-hour traffic along the town’s Main Street.
But that figurative and literal gridlock may soon be lifted thanks to a pledge by Middlebury College to donate $9 million toward a new in-town bridge project that would link Main Street to Court Street over the Otter Creek via Cross Street.
College and municipal officials on Monday confirmed to the Addison Independent the donation pledge — made at the request of the town — which will take the form of annual payments of $600,000 over 30 years to cover the interest and principal payments on the bonds that Middlebury will float for construction of the span.
Total cost of the in-town bridge project is being placed at $16 million, with $7 million of that amount associated with related intersection upgrades, road improvements and acquisition of four properties within the project right-of-way. Selectmen will look to other funding sources — including the federal government and local taxpayers — to cover that remaining $7 million.
“What I hope is that this is a step in the evolutionary process in the relationship between the town and college, that both feel more comfortable working with each other collaboratively, to the benefit of both… ” Middlebury College President Ronald Liebowitz said of the financial pledge for the bridge, a structure he believes could serve not only as a vital traffic conduit, but also as a metaphor for a new era of town-gown collaborations in tackling common challenges.