Council sets price for sale of public land to resident

VERGENNES — At their Oct. 22 city council meeting, Vergennes aldermen agreed with South Water Street homeowner Didier Murat on the sale terms for a city-owned strip of land that bisects his property that is technically an extension of Victory Street. City officials said the strip, almost exactly 0.25 acre, is now lawn and has not been publicly used for decades, possibly a century or more.
The land in question runs from South Water Street to Otter Creek. Murat, who would like to build a garage on the strip, and alderman agreed on a price of $5,000 and up to $2,000 of legal fees, but the sale cannot be completed until a formal road discontinuation process is finished.
In addition to discussion about a petition dealing with the proposed natural gas pipeline to the city, the city council at its Oct. 22 meeting also:
•  Heard from Friends of the Opera House president Gerianne Smart about a proposal for a plaza and bulbout in front of city hall (see story in Oct. 24 Independent). Smart also updated aldermen on theater activity, which she said included its expanded board focusing on “organizational infrastructure,” appointing committees, and planning a Nov. 9 retreat to work on a new strategic plan.
The theater will also host the annual fall Vergennes Union High School musical, and among other things before the end of 2013 two fundraising concerts, one of which will be the annual Broadway Direct show. Smart said that show will for the first time include VUHS students singing along with New York theater professionals.
•  Heard from Bill Brim, the director of Middlebury’s Turning Point Center, that he would like a letter of support from aldermen for a documentary film to be shown on Nov. 15 at the opera house that is relevant to the center’s mission of helping recovering substance abusers through peer-to-peer counseling. Brim said selectmen in Bristol and Middlebury, where the film will also be shown, had already signed such a document. Aldermen accepted a model letter to consider.
•  Heard from City Manager Mel Hawley that no new problems had arisen at the police station site, and that because the project was, in Bread Loaf Corp overseers’ words, “out of the ground,” he was optimistic the project could remain on budget.

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