Board looks at planning grant for sidewalks
by Jack Deming
Oct 03, 2013 | 3280 views | 1 1 comments | 140 140 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WILMINGTON- At Wednesday night’s meeting, economic development specialist Gretchen Havreluk asked the selectboard for a resolution of support for a Transportation Alternatives grant to fund improving the town’s sidewalks. Havreluk presented the board with two options to pursue: a planning grant which would require a 50% match from the town, or an implementation grant, which would require only a 20% match. The selectboard decided that a planning grant was the right course of action, allowing the town to bring in an engineer to develop a design for the new sidewalks. “We could go for the implementation grant right now, but the chances are we’re not going to get it without having the piece saying what it is we’re going for and what the design is,” said Havreluk.

If the town is awarded the planning grant, Havreluk said an engineer would design a plan for new sidewalks on North, South, East and West Main streets. The new sidewalks would extend the current walkways on West Main Street as far as the walking bridge on the south side of the street, and the Wilmington Inn and Tavern on the north side. On North Main Street, the sidewalks on the west side would be extended to the Red Mill Inn. Providing a 50% match, the plan will cost the town $25,000, which would come out of the matching grant line item in the town budget.

Once the planning portion is accomplished, in six months the town will be able to apply for a pedestrian implementation grant that only requires a 10% match. Havreluk said that typically from the start of the process to the installation of new sidewalks takes two to five years, but she’s confident the town can move quickly. “With the town making this project a priority, and as long as we keep applying for the grants, and getting these grants, then it seems feasible to get this done sooner.

“The state has us on their radar, they know we have really deep needs. I’m confident we’ll get these grants,” continued Havreluk.

Downtown property owner Cliff Duncan asked the selectboard to move up an agenda item at the beginning of the meeting so he could discuss recent developments that have followed the development review board’s decision to approve the installation of an HVAC system at the back of Memorial Hall. Duncan wanted the town to know that there was an obvious communication breakdown between the town and abutting property owners of the hall, who are challenging the decision in environmental court. “What’s happened here is it’s turning into an ugly thing between the town and two long-standing businesses,” said Duncan. “Communication seems to be totally off the track and I think you’ll need to get involved here and have a conversation.”

Board member Susie Haughwout agreed that communication needs to be better when work needs to be accomplished on the building, but warned the selectboard cannot rule over the DRB. “As much as we may not agree occasionally, this board has no legal authority to rule over the DRB and we should not be watchdogging for them either.”

The selectboard was also given a strategic plan and privacy statement to sign in regard to the town’s new website, which the town is aiming to begin using at the end of October. The new website was made possible by a grant as well as help from the Snelling Center, and what Murphy called the diligent work of town administrative assistant and webmaster Mary Towne.

Murphy also said that he would update the town’s flood call list, which lists the names and phone numbers of downtown building owners as well as the town’s administrators and department heads. Murphy also intends to talk to the chamber of commerce as well as the schools to find out what kind of emergency notification systems they use so the town may be better prepared to notify residents in case of an emergency situation.

Comments
(1)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
chap914
|
October 03, 2013
One has to believe that Bill Hunt and his Highway Crew know how to design sidewalks and curb cuts and by gosh even driveways, and I'm sure that they would be happy as heck to share that $25g of Town money. I bet they'd even take the State's money too.

Why if its supposedly "free" does it justify p--ing money away.