ACTR firms up grants for new headquarters

MIDDLEBURY — Addison County Transit Resources (ACTR) officials hope to soon start drawing down an already-secured $2.85 million federal grant and move toward building a new headquarters on Creek Road, and in the meantime they’ve applied for an additional $1 million to make the facility as energy efficient as possible.
It was around 16 months ago that ACTR — the county’s public transportation provider — learned it had received the $2.85 million earmark through the Omnibus Appropriation Bill of 2009. That earmark is to help ACTR build a 13,000-square-foot building on state-owned land at 341 Creek Road.
The new structure, which has already won conditional approval from the Middlebury Development Review Board, will house ACTR’s administrative offices and provide storage and maintenance space for the organization’s growing bus fleet. ACTR’s offices and vehicles are currently wedged into rented space at the Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) Community Services Center on Boardman Street.
Total costs of the new building are estimated at $3.6 million. The organization is currently in the “silent phase” of a fund drive to raise the $750,000 local match it will need to cover the balance of project costs, according to ACTR Executive Director James Moulton.
Moulton said that although the $2.85 million earmark — through the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) — is secured, ACTR must “jump through a fair number of hoops” to begin spending it. Those hoops primarily involve a lot of paperwork, according to Moulton, including proof of permitting.
“It takes time to work through all the steps” in the application process, Moulton said. And he noted ACTR has not had ample opportunity, until now, to work intensively on the FTA paperwork because of two matters: An emergency call for commuter bus services near the Champlain Bridge when that span closed to traffic last October, and a recent expansion of the Middlebury and Tri-Town Shuttles.
Still, Moulton is optimistic ACTR will be able to begin hiring workers this fall for a project he said could begin next summer, with completion of the building in 2012.
Meanwhile, ACTR officials are seeking another grant through the FTA, this time for $1 million to make sure the new building meets the greenest of construction standards. Moulton said the $1 million would provide for, among other things, energy-efficient fixtures, insulation and solar/geothermal systems that would allow the building to meet much of its own heating, hot water and electricity needs.
Middlebury selectmen last week endorsed ACTR’s application for the grant, due to be completed within the next few weeks.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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