City seeks feedback on recreation options

VERGENNES — Vergennes aldermen at their Nov. 13 meeting urged residents of the city and surrounding towns to fill out a survey that focuses largely on the city’s current and potential recreation offerings.
Mayor Michael Daniels and City Manager Mel Hawley said the survey would not only give city and partnership officials guidance on what to focus upon in improving recreation in Vergennes, but also that the results would support efforts to obtain grant funding to meet that goal.
The 10-question survey, crafted by the city council’s recreation committee and members of the Vergennes Partnership, is available in paper form at Vergennes City Hall, or may be filled out online at — or printed out from — the partnership website, vergennesdowntown.com.
It asks for basic information from respondents, such as town of residence, age and family data. Multiple-choice questions ask how often respondents visit Vergennes and what they do there.
Other multiple-choice questions ask what respondents would “like to see more of in Vergennes,” and what “type of new recreational area/facility do you feel would most benefit the greater Vergennes community?”
Questions also seek to determine what existing facilities are being used, and what ideas for new businesses and activities respondents have to offer.
Respondents are offered the chance to identify themselves and their volunteer interests, but the question is labeled “Optional.”
Hawley said that the 153 respondents to a planning commission survey during that panel’s work to update the city plan provided important guidance to planners during that process, and he hoped for a similar strong response to this survey.
In other business, aldermen:
•  Heard from Deputy Mayor Randy Ouellette than Northlands Job Corps officials are back on board with a program to send Northlands students to shovel snow for residents who need aid this winter. Aldermen said those who need help should contact City Clerk Joan Devine or other City Hall workers, and they will relay the request to Northlands.
•  Heard from Devine that turnout on Election Day was a strong 72 percent, with 1,132 votes cast. In part because that total included 175 absentee or early voters, the day ran smoothly, she said.
•  Were told by Daniels that Middlebury College students had prepared a useful aerial map of a potential trail fully linking the Otter Creek basin with the Agency of Transportation commuter lot near the intersection of Routes 22A and 7.
•  Also heard from Daniels that the city’s Halloween-themed Haunted Warehouse at Kennedy Brothers had netted $600. The city donated $300 to Jackman Fuels to be used to buy fuel for those in need, and $300 to the Vergennes Lions Club.
•  Appointed public works employee Chris Bearor to a vacancy on the board of listers. Bearor’s term will expire in March, and Hawley said he hoped Bearor would stand for election then. Hawley said no conflict of interest existed between Bearor’s city job and work as a lister.
•  Said they would invite Vermont Gas Systems representatives to their December meeting to discuss the company’s possible use of city rights-of-way for its proposed gas pipeline south from Chittenden County, and to talk about how the natural gas supply could benefit Vergennes.

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