Opinion: Voter thankful for second shot at Middlebury project

I wanted to take this opportunity to say “kudos” to Skip Brush for giving the taxpayers of Middlebury the opportunity to look at alternatives to the current town hall and gym project. We can take advantage of this opportunity by voting “NO” on the reconsidered article on May 13 or earlier by absentee ballot.
We now know that there is at least one alternative to the current project with a cost less than 6.5 million dollars. That alternative listed the cost for solving the traffic issue should the gym be relocated at the Mary Hogan School. It made me aware that the current project will likely cost the taxpayers more than $2 million. The intersection and need for a sidewalk to the proposed gym on Creek Road was not evaluated as part of the current project.
At least 15 years ago, I served on a committee with several selectboard members and others that identified the Route 7/Creek Road intersection as one of the five most dangerous intersections in Middlebury. A “NO” vote on or before May 13 will allow us to determine the total cost on any proposed project, as well as solve any safety issues.
A “NO” vote on or before May 13 will also give us the opportunity to consider a project that will not exacerbate the difficulty of parking in Middlebury. Several of us know adults who will not currently shop in downtown Middlebury because they can only find parking spaces where they must “climb a hill” to shop, and it is difficult for them to do so.
Additionally, a “NO” vote on or before May 13 will allow us to provide an appropriate and large enough space for a teen center. A successful program for our teens should be a priority of our community.
Lastly, a “NO” vote on or before May 13 might provide us increased opportunities to collaborate with Middlebury College personnel. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could discuss alternatives with them that would meet the needs of Middlebury’s citizens and also provide the college a suitable gateway without the town losing the “heart of Middlebury.”
For all the reasons stated above, I urge everyone to vote “NO” on May 13 or sooner. Let us join together as a community, examine alternatives, and find the best solution that meets the needs of Middlebury’s citizens.
Carol Eckels

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