Falling bricks prompt Middlebury to close Bakery Lane

MIDDLEBURY — Bakery Lane will be closed at its northern entrance (fronting Main Street) for up to a month beginning Monday, Sept. 12, to accommodate repairs to the brick façade of the Dyer Block, Middlebury officials confirmed on Friday.
The closure will prevent vehicles from turning onto Bakery Lane from Main Street, as Liszt Historic Restoration will be using a lift and/or scaffolding to make the masonry repairs, according to Middlebury Development Review Board Administrator Ted Dunakin. The contractor will be responsible for erecting signs directing travelers to enter Bakery Lane from its southern access (via Cross Street) to get to affected businesses. Those affected businesses include Jackson’s on the River, Taste of India and Neat Repeats, among others.
News of the closure came as a shock to some Bakery Lane business owners, including Craig Goldstein of Jackson’s. He noted the closure coincides with the critical fall foliage season, one of the most lucrative times for area businesses.
“It is a huge part of our business,” Goldstein said, noting the prospect of layoffs at the restaurant — or even worse — if customer traffic is choked off.
“For us, it’s pretty horrific,” he said.
Dunakin said he wasn’t informed of the timing of the project (by building owner Peter Jette) until Thursday, Sept. 8. He said masonry work can’t be done during cold weather, so Jette and his contractor decided to do the project sooner rather than later. It is a project that town officials have been lobbying for in wake of the crumbling of some of the Dyer Block brickwork last winter. Bricks fell onto Bakery Lane last February, though fortunately no one was hurt. Workers put plywood at the top of the wall as a stop-gap until a more permanent fix could be made, according to Dunakin.
“The town has every interest in making sure every business succeeds,” Dunakin said. “We also need to balance that with the safety of people walking along Bakery Lane.”

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