Town Manager’s Column: All About Town – (July 2015)

Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager

In my last column, I summarized the eight (8) pathway projects now “on the drawing board”. At the July 13th Select Board meeting, the Board approved the Projects Implementation Plan for the six (6) highest priority projects. First up, the Ninja Trail, so-called. The approval allows the staff to begin seeking funding to carry out this project. Permits must be obtained from the State of Vermont for that portion of the pathway that runs parallel to Route 67A within the State right of way from Hannaford to the Bennington College entrance. We hope to have the roughed in trail open by next year.

The Board was updated on the Downtown Area Wide Plan approved last year. With funding in place through a grant from the Agency of Natural Resources and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, this plan has been in development. It’s now focused on the Greenberg block, the property chosen for a market study and a more detailed redevelopment and feasibility analysis. The goal is to develop the Area Wide Plan and Implementation Document. It will contain a vision for re-use of brownfields sites within the study area, a complete inventory of all properties within the area, re-use strategies and a market strategy for the Greenberg block, a timeline for implementation, and potential funding available for implementation of the Plan. The initial offering will be available for viewing on August 1 of this year at the Farmers’ Market and the Brew Fest. The formal document is scheduled for completion in November of this year.

Bennington’s paving projects are underway. South Stream Road, Monument Road, and Elm Street are the first in line. We also plan to pave portions of Houghton Lane, East Road, and the reconstructed portion of River Road when that is completed. Sidewalk reconstructions and repairs are scheduled for portions of Benmont Avenue, Main Street from Gage to Bradford Street, a portion of Dewey Street, a portion of Pleasant Street, and a portion of Washington Avenue. There will, of course, be other minor paving and sidewalk repairs as needed throughout the community.

The Benmont Bridge project, overseen by the State, is moving along. A new water main to improve service to Northside Drive and beyond is being installed as part of the project. It is expected that this project will continue into the winter months. It has created some traffic confusion and delays; however, it is a very necessary project given the deteriorated condition of the bridge.

Many people are asking when the Walmart project might start. We continue to hear that August is the planned start date. Building permits have been submitted and the roundabout design has been approved by the State.

New State-mandated licensing requirements are now in effect for all trash haulers doing business in Bennington. As of this writing, those in compliance are Casella Waste Management, TAM Inc, and Tom Sweet. Those not in compliance will be reported to the State. Their ability to do business in Vermont may be jeopardized. Licenses may be obtained by contacting the Bennington Town Offices at 802-442-1037.

Remember, if anyone has any questions or suggestions arising from this column or on any town matters, please contact me at 442-1037 or stop in at the Town Offices on South Street.

Stuart Hurd is Bennington’s Town Manager. He writes a monthly column on town issues.