Opinion: Lead petitioner describes concerns with current plan
I respectfully urge all registered Middlebury voters to vote on Article 1 on Tuesday, May 13. Even if you voted yes on March 4 for Article 6 related to the municipal offices/gymnasium proposal, I urge you to consider voting NO on May 13.
I offer the following reasoning on three issues for you to consider. The location of the municipal building next to the library, the gymnasium on Creek Road near the old American Legion, and the financial concerns.
First of all, the municipal building located next to the library is a seriously flawed proposal for the following reasons:
1. The municipal offices are a destination location, and are no way a draw or attraction to the downtown.
2. Designated parking spaces for visitors and/or employees is a reduction in parking for the downtown firms that rely and depend on those spaces for their business and livelihoods.
3. Restricts any expansion plans the library may have in the future.
3. East Middlebury residents and residents outside of the village proper are an equally important part of the community and the municipal office location should be convenient for all of them also.
Secondly, the gym location on Creek Road is also an extremely flawed proposed location for the following reasons:
1. Traffic and parking are presently a problem during events located at the “Legion area” fields, even without the addition of a gym.
2. Overflow parking across the street next to the state of Vermont unemployment offices has been earmarked as a backup plan for parking. I believe that fact is flawed because of an impending housing project for that spot, which will eliminate that area as backup parking.
3. The gym should be located somewhere in the recreation park area, so as to be a convenience to senior citizens, teens and ID-4 students.
4. Traffic entering Court Street from Creek Road involves events such as high school varsity lacrosse, youth lacrosse, youth soccer and youth baseball is already an immediate problem.
5. Parking along Creek Road during events is a terrible problem for traffic now, making it very difficult for local residents, ACTR buses and state of Vermont highway department vehicles.
Lastly, and maybe more importantly, are the enormous financial concerns.
1. Considering the value of the land itself, the town is not getting a good deal despite the college’s contribution.
2. The other important financial concern is the uncertainty of the college’s “up to” $1 million contribution for the removal of the present two buildings, moving the Osborne House to Cross Street, and creation of the new park at the site of the demolished buildings. Despite the lack of solid financial figures for all that work, i.e., asbestos removal, lead paint removal, debris removal, landfill costs, excavation costs, etc., the final cost will almost certainly far exceed the $1 million contribution from the college.
3. The $2 million assessed to the taxpayers in the original deal will almost certainly be in the $3 million to $4 million range when you consider the “up to” $1 million deal mentioned in item no. 2 above.
Again, as mentioned in the beginning of this letter, please review all the information and vote NO on May 13. We can definitely do much better and accomplish something the entire community can be proud of for years to come.
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