Town seeks grant for warming hut repairs

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard on Tuesday agreed to apply for up to $10,000 in state grant funding for improvements to the municipal “warming hut” off Buttolph Drive. The warming hut was once used as a changing facility by hockey athletes playing at the nearby Memorial Sports Center. But the sports center now has its own locker rooms, and the warming hut is being groomed as a gathering spot for Addison Central Teens, which currently meets in the municipal building basement.
Parks and Recreation Director Terri Arnold wants to apply for a grant through the Vermont Arts Council to make several upgrades to the warming hut building.
Those changes include moving a utility sink to the kitchen area, upgrading electrical service, installing new signs naming the building, widening a door and installing a ramp, placing overhangs over the building doors, installing a baby-changing table; and putting in a 10-foot-by-10-foot concrete pad outside the structure for people to gather.
A town match for the grant is required, money that would come from the town’s capital improvement budget.
Board members supported the project, and Selectman Travis Forbes offered to donate the concrete pad through his family’s company, Case Street Redi-Mix.
In other action on Tuesday, the Middlebury selectboard:
•  Planned an April 29 public meeting to talk about the Phase II natural gas pipeline (see story, Page 1A).
•  Unanimously agreed to accept a deed from Middlebury College for the Lazarus building at 20 Main St. The college agreed to buy the property and turn it over to the town for demolition in order to widen the Printer’s Alley access to the Marble Works complex.
The transfer was once contingent on the town giving to Middlebury College a small amount of town property off Bakery Lane. Plans called for the college to combine that land with its own, contiguous real estate to market to a developer for construction of an economic development initiative.
But the college last month dropped that condition and instead gave the town its own Bakery Lane property for the town to market as it sees fit.
•  Fielded a request from resident Victoria DeWind that the new town office building proposal — if affirmed by voters on May 13 — complies with language in the Middlebury Town Plan. Language in the town plan speaks to siting municipal offices at their current spot at 94 Main St. DeWind, a former planning commission chairwoman, presented the board with a list of town plan-related concerns about the $6.5 million project that she said should be addressed as soon as possible.
DeWind argued that if the bond is affirmed on May 13 and the project is found to not be in compliance with the town plan, it would put the Middlebury Development Review Board in a difficult situation in its review of the plan. She believes it would also make the project susceptible to further challenges, including an appeal to the state’s Environmental Court.
“Why do we have a plan and not honor it, particularly for our own project?” DeWind said.
Board members agreed to ask the planning commission and, if need be, town counsel to sort out the issue.
•  Unanimously accepted the bid of $93,140 from Clark’s Truck Center for a plow truck chassis with 84-month warranty, and a bid of $75,800 from Viking-Cives for related stainless steel body and equipment, to replace a 2007 GMC plow truck that burned this past winter. The combined cost will be covered by funds approved at town meeting and an insurance settlement for the 2007 truck.
•  Agreed, by a vote of 5-2, to submit a letter of support for adding a Vermont section to the North Country National Scenic Trail. While there are currently two alternative trails proposed, the trail extension would add around 40 miles from the New York/Vermont border at Crown Point, passing near the Dead Creek area of Addison, past Snake Mountain and into Middlebury via the Trail Around Middlebury, then skirting east to the Green Mountains where it would meet with the Long Trail and, eventually, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The Middlebury Area Land Trust is working with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., to draft federal legislation to make the change.
Selectmen Gary Baker and Travis Forbes voted against drafting the letter, out of concerns over potential hunting restrictions on Middlebury lands that would be added to the trail easement.
•  Appointed citizens to a variety of volunteer boards, commissions and other offices.
Resident and recent selectboard candidate Heather Seeley questioned the town’s policy of occasionally allowing non-residents to serve on local committees. For example, the board on Tuesday appointed Cornwall resident Sarah Peluso — a Middlebury-based Realtor — to serve a term on the Middlebury Planning Commission.
Board members said non-residents can sometimes bring special skills and perspectives to local boards, and agreed to continue considering out-of-town applicants on a case-by-case basis.
•  Unanimously re-adopted the town’s Local Emergency Operations Plan (LEOP). The LEOP must be adopted annually after town meeting and submitted to the state by May 1.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

Share this story:

More News
US Probation Office Uncategorized

US Probation Office Request for Proposals

US Probation Office 2×1.5 062024 RFP

Middlebury American Legion Uncategorized

Middlebury American Legion Annual Meeting

Middlebury American Legion 062024 1×1.5 Annual Meeting

Sports Uncategorized

MAV girls’ lax nets two triumphs

The Mount Abraham-Vergennes cooperative girls’ lacrosse team moved over .500 with a pair o … (read more)

Share this story: