Opinion: Current plan a ‘darn good solution’ for Middlebury

Throughout the 45 years I have lived in Middlebury, two recurring issues have dominated local politics: a second bridge across the Otter Creek, and what to do about our deteriorating town offices. A few years ago, we came together as a town to address the first of these, and the happy result was the Cross Street Bridge — made possible, in part, by a generous contribution from Middlebury College.
Now we have an opportunity to address the second issue — and at last to build a new town office building that we can all be proud of.
Is the proposal before us the perfect solution? Perhaps not, but in a participatory democracy such as ours, there are probably almost as many ideas of what constitutes the “perfect” solution as there are voters.
The current proposal is at least a pretty darn good solution: We will get a handsome new, workable, energy-efficient, and handicap-accessible town office building, located downtown. Furthermore, we will have a new park that will open a visual connection between the town center and the college that the town fathers founded over 200 years ago. And, we can afford it — again thanks in part to the generosity of that college.
A “no” vote on the proposition before us will send us back to essentially where we were in 1980 — with an aging, inefficient municipal building and no realistic, affordable plan to replace it. A “yes” vote will allow us to move forward, at last.
For my part, I plan to vote an enthusiastic “yes” on May 13, just as I did at town meeting. I hope that a substantial majority of Middlebury voters will again join me.
Frank Winkler

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