Town Manager’s Column – August 2018

Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager

The paving project along Routes 9 and 7 through the downtown is fully underway. It has created delays throughout the downtown in spite of the efforts of the traffic control crews and the Sheriff’s presence. If one pauses long enough to think about this, it is an incredibly complex project. This is a State led and financed project. These roads are considered Class I town highways. Essentially, the State controls

the design and construction of the entire roadway. The Town is charged with winter maintenance and minor maintenance and repair of the surface when the below grade infrastructure (water, sewer, or drainage) has problems. I have found the State employees and the contractor to be as helpful and cooperative as possible when addressing issues that arise during the project. So please be patient; let us know of your concerns: work with us; and we’ll get through this together.

Battle Day is now behind us. Thankfully, the road surface wasn’t too bad, and the weather was fantastic. The Bell Memorial ceremony was incredibly touching this year. The list of those who have passed during the year grows longer with time. The USS Bennington served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War and for a time thereafter. Shipmates come every year to gather and remember.

The Putnam Redevelopment Project moves ever closer to fruition. We continue to hear very positive things from those involved. There is an incredible will to see this through. A Fall closing continues to be projected. I tip my hat to Bennington College, the Bank of Bennington, Global Z, Southwestern Vermont Health Care, Southern Vermont College, BCIC and BCRC, plus many local investors and funding organization. The combined effort has been a joy to behold. As I’ve said before, this will be a transformative project.

Two new projects are underway. The pump track at Stark Street playground, sponsored by the Bennington Area Trail System (BATS), may be the catalyst to the revitalization of this recreational asset that has for some time lay dormant and little used. The splash pad, a water feature, has found a home in Merchants Park. The design of this park has been altered to accommodate this feature. A final design is being prepared to present to the Select Board, perhaps before month end.

The Park at 336 Main Street, although alive and well, awaits its groundbreaking. The contractor who has agreed to oversee the project has been very busy this year. This is a very good thing for him and his business, but it has slowed the groundbreaking effort. A late summer start is still planned.

As you all know, Tracy Knights, long term Recreation Director, recently passed away. Tracy brought joy and laughter to just about everyone she touched. She was kind and generous to a fault. She was loved by her staff and those who were close to her. When engaged in her battle with cancer, she created a circle of support. I was pleased to have been invited into that circle. I intend to remain a member of that circle and will keep her ever in my thoughts. We all need a little laughter in our lives. Thank you, Tracy.

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.