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Middlebury passes infrastructure bonds

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury residents on March 3 authorized bonding for a combined total of up to $5.35 million for projects aimed at replacing an aging water main in the Court Square area, fortifying the banks of the Middlebury River to avert future flooding in East Middlebury, and repurposing former sewer plant buildings into storage space for the municipal police department.
At stake were:
•  A bond of up to $2.5 million to finance water main improvements to Court Square (the green across from the Middlebury Inn), including the intersection of Main Street/North Pleasant Street, Court Street (from Court Square to Cross Street); and Washington Street (from Court Square to Seminary Street). Public works officials have had to deal with a large number of costly water breaks in this area, according to town officials.
Residents approved that proposal by a 1,899-277 margin.
•  A bond of up to $2 million to make a series of flood-prevention upgrades to the Middlebury River in the vicinity of East Middlebury village. The proposed improvements include reinforcing the river berm along Ossie Road with rip-rap; removing sediment from the river; and repairing and reinforcing the floodwall at the Gristmill Bridge.
That plan earned voter approval by a 1,836-332 tally
Here’s the cost breakdown of the project: Repair the existing flood wall, and extend it 150 feet downstream ($1 million); armor sections of the Ossie Road berm ($800,000); and remove sediment from chute entrances and the top of large sand bars ($200,000).
The so-called “East Middlebury Flood Resiliency Project” has been in the planning stages for several years. East Middlebury village is at the foot of the mountainous trek the river takes adjacent to Route 125 through Ripton.
•  A bond of up to $850,000 to rehab portions of the former wastewater treatment plant off Lucius Shaw Lane to use as storage space for the nearby Middlebury Police Department.
That passed by a 1,772 to 405 margin.
It was around 20 years ago Middlebury decommissioned its former wastewater treatment plant off Lucius Shaw Lane, and the community later built a new police station at the property. The department has been using some of the former plant’s structures for storage, but they need work, officials said.
While the three separate requests add up to $5.35 million, Middlebury residents won’t be on the hook for nearly that much. That’s because the selectboard has put together a financing plan that includes a large federal grant and surplus revenues from Middlebury’s local option tax fund.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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