Vergennes dealing with three issues
VERGENNES — In Vergennes, City Manager Mel Hawley said officials want to tie up three loose ends before school property is transferred to a new unified union under one-board control, something that would happen on July 1, 2017, if Addison Northwest Supervisory Union unification passes on March 1.
One loose end Hawley recently uncovered while researching deeds. The city’s Green Street fire station was once the Vergennes High School gym, and the city bought it for that purpose from the former Vergennes ID School District per a 1957 citywide vote.
Hawley discovered that the 1959 deed for that transaction called for proceeds from any future sale of Vergennes ID property to return to now-defunct Vergennes ID district, meaning a quitclaim deed to renounce a claim to the proceeds is necessary.
Hawley said he questions any claim could be valid because no such conditions were attached to the article voters approved in 1957, but Vergennes Union Elementary School lawyers raised a concern after Hawley uncovered the issue, which he said is a cloud on the city’s rightful title.
“I want that cleared up,” he said.
The second item concerns a sewer main that runs across both VUES and Vergennes Union High School property, not far from an 8-acre parcel that the city owns off New Haven Road. Vergennes has no immediate plans for the land, which at one point it considered as a home for a new police station.
But any development of the land would be much easier if the city could run a sewer line downhill to that main, Hawley said, rather than pumping waste back out to New Haven Road. Thus, Vergennes would like an easement for that purpose in advance of unification.
“It just makes sense to have plans for a gravity sewer line to serve that site,” Hawley said.
Those are the two issues that Hawley believes can be dealt with immediately without a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The third relates to the VUES parking lot, which Vergennes residents use, often during the day, to access the city’s pool, skate park, tennis and basketball courts in the summer, and skating rink in the winter.
Hawley also said because VUES students often use the city’s rink and pool during school hours, reaching an understanding that mutually benefits both parties would be fair. He has discussed a draft MOU with ANwSU Superintendent JoAn Canning and members of the VUES board.
“I’m not fearing that a unified district is going to fence the property,” Hawley said. “But my concern is to make sure that some future board doesn’t create a policy that those facilities are in essence closed off to the public during school hours, either with another memorandum or some understanding.”