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Selectboard discusses Middlebury’s economic recovery

MIDDLEBURY — In addition to talking about a central component of local economic activity — construction of the rail tunnel (see story) — the Middlebury selectboard at a Tuesday Zoom meeting discussed local and statewide economic recovery efforts aimed at helping businesses make a strong comeback as the pandemic subsides.
Fred Kenney, executive director of the Addison County Economic Development Corp., noted the creation of a state of Vermont Economic Mitigation & Recovery Task Force, and the Addison County Recovery Team.
The state task Force, established by Gov. Phil Scott, is charged with “providing technical assistance and expertise to mitigate the devastating short-term economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with developing strategies designed to speed long-term business and community recovery.” It is made up of various job creators, community leaders and business representatives from each region. The task force’s website (tinyurl.com/ybt4nca7) also includes a list of task force action teams, their functions and membership.
The Addison County Recovery Team includes officials from several area businesses, as well as the ACEDC, who are laying the groundwork for toward recovery and the transition to a “post-COVID-19 economy.” 
With that in mind, the task force has drafted a business survey that can be found at surveymonkey.com/r/AddisonCty. The group has set a deadline of May 15 to complete it. Essentially, business owners are being asked to convey through the survey their specific needs and concerns. 
The ACEDC will share those responses in an aggregated format. Kenney told the board that he’d received around 400 completed surveys as of Tuesday.
Other discussion at Tuesday’s selectboard meeting focused on:
•  News that the Maverick gas station at 83 Court Street is up for sale as part of a portfolio of 18 other such properties owned by Global Partners LP. Those properties are spread through Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The town has had an interest in the Maverick property as part of a long-term plan to improve traffic flow at the Charles Avenue/Court Street/Monroe Street intersection. The selectboard on Tuesday agreed to convey its interest in the property if it could potentially be acquired separately from the broader Global Partners portfolio.
•  A brief presentation from Public Works Planning Director Dan Werner on the status of the town’s summer infrastructure projects. He indicated the handful of projects — which include decommissioning and improvements to the former wastewater treatment plant facilities off Seymour Street — are largely on schedule. He indicated potential delays and a reconfiguration of a project that will improve an aging water main in the Court Square area.
John Flowers is at [email protected].

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