Middlebury sets river strategy

MIDDLEBURY — In addition to taking a first look at next year’s municipal budget draft, the Middlebury selectboard at its Nov. 22 meeting also:
•  Heard a report from the Middlebury River Management Steering Committee on efforts to make short- and long-term improvements in the Middlebury River to lessen the impacts of future flood events. The East Middlebury community sustained considerable damage following Tropical Storm Irene. The selectboard agreed to hire Amy Sheldon of Landslide Natural Resources Planning to serve as the project manager for the effort, which will include procuring technical services for the project, seeking grant funding for planning for and implementation of flood hazard mitigation measures, working with regulatory and permitting agencies, and coordinating public outreach, noted Assistant Town Manager Kathleen Ramsay .
Middlebury Town Manager Bill Finger confirmed the town has received permission to remove tree debris from the mouth of the Middlebury River, as well as upstream.
•  Received, and endorsed, a citizens’ petition urging further local, state and federal efforts to make the Middlebury River less likely to jump its banks during future storms. The petition is signed by 192 Middlebury residents, of which 175 live in East Middlebury. It “strongly encourages” the town of Middlebury, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “to actively protect the residents and landowners within the reach of the Middlebury River.” It requests, among other things, “a thoroughly researched plan for maintaining the health of the river and the safety of the residents, property, and infrastructure of East Middlebury.”
•  Confirmed that architects from Vermont Integrated Architecture and an ad hoc committee will update the selectboard on Nov. 29 on progress in planning a makeover of the Middlebury municipal building. That meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the town offices conference room. More public feedback will be sought at a Dec. 7 meeting slated for 7 p.m. in the municipal gym.

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