Archive - Oct 11, 2007
Starksboro Meeting Hall has been removed to allow work to be done as part of an ongoing restoration project. Several area towns are working to bring iconic local structures up to date.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
MONKTON — The East Monkton Church is one of the fine old buildings in the area that are relics of an earlier era. The white, wooden building, constructed in the classic New England style, predates phones and electricity, and, for that matter, cars. But it is still used each summer as a place of worship.
And like a few other local pieces of the past — notably public buildings in Starksboro and Bristol — the community group that manages this church is hoping to restore it.
Candace Polzella, who helped found the East Monkton Church Association Inc. three years ago, said her group plans to keep the church in use as a valuable part of the town.
“It’s a historic building, and it’s been a part of our community since 1867,” Polzella said.
Some work has already been done on the building on Church Road. The association raised enough money to re-roof the building in the summer of 2006. But Polzella said they would eventually like to do a lot more work, including replacing some windows and rotted wood, repainting the exterior, and repairing the front entrance and foundation of the 140-year-old building.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — While Middlebury’s Cross Street has been squarely in the headlines for its potential to host a new in-town bridge over the Otter Creek, an ad hoc committee has been quietly mapping out a new retail-office hub that could be located mere yards from the proposed new span.
Representatives of the Middlebury Economic Development Initiative Committee (EDIC) on Tuesday unveiled some conceptual drawings of a 40,000-square-foot commercial building that could be erected on land located behind the Ilsley Library. The roughly 77,000 square feet of land in question is primarily used now as a municipal parking lot and is owned by Middlebury College and the town of Middlebury.
College and municipal officials recently joined forces to take a closer look at the downtown property and its potential in hosting a project that could improve the economic vitality of downtown while boosting Middlebury’s grand list.
Middlebury Town Planner and EDIC member Fred Dunnington on Tuesday presented selectmen some conceptual drawings showing a 40,000-square-foot building bordering Cross Street between the current Steele’s Service Center property and the rim of the Otter Creek off Bakery Lane (see map).
While the plans are still very much in flux, Dunnington said the building could boast as many as three stories, built above as many as three levels of parking. There could be around 100 spaces for each level of parking, according to Dunnington.
October 11, 2007
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
MIDDLEBURY — Congressman Peter Welch this week in Middlebury voiced concerns about some parts of the 2007 Farm Bill, but he said that the parts most important to Vermont’s agricultural community, such as the Milk Income Loss Contract, were preserved in the version of the bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The first job was to keep that safety net part of the Farm Bill,” the Vermont Democrat said at the annual Addison County Farm Bureau meeting on Monday.
The Farm Bill recently passed by the House and now awaits discussion by the Senate agricultural committee. The 2002 Farm Bill was set to expire last month, but was extended until November.
Details of the bill will have a significant effect on the agricultural community, and Welch said the bill could affect the rest of the state nearly as much. “A lot of the benefit is that those of us who live in Vermont … get the collateral benefit of this local, cultivated land,” Welch said, referring to side benefits like tourism dollars. “The more there is local agriculture, the better.”
However, there were some portions of the House’s version of the bill that Welch disapproved of, such as a price support program for commodities like wheat, corn, rice and other staples. He argued that too often the program wound up funding farms that didn’t need any extra help.
By Angelo Lynn
Area residents against any outside development in Middlebury must think the sky is falling.
Within just the past couple of weeks, Middlebury has seen applications to develop a 2,400-square-foot Starbucks coffee house, a 15,000-square-foot Staples, and now a 17,000-square-foot warehouse type building for an Aldi discount food store, plus 4,200 square feet to be leased for commercial/retail uses. Add that to the prospect of Aldi building another office building on an adjacent lot in the future, and the prospect of a 40,000-square-foot commercial building in the downtown behind the Ilsley Library (see stories Page 1A) and that’s a whole lot of change coming down the pike in a hurry.
But is the sky falling down or is this managed growth?
To be fair, the prospects of growth within The Centre Plaza, where Hannafords is located, have always been contemplated. And certainly town officials and residents have been anticipating for the past couple of years some commercial enterprise replacing the dilapidated car wash next to McDonald’s. And to the extent that The Centre Plaza has had the capacity to expand on its existing lot — or could achieve that with adjoining land acquisition — it’s not beyond the pale to believe the town has anticipated a full build-out of that property since its original application.