HEARD ON THE STREET: 6.1.17

Construction Update: Manholes, Drainage and Sidewalks The Next Priority

MONTPELIER — Milling and the first course of new pavement was completed during the first few weeks of work in May. The focus for most of June will be to prepare State Street and Main Street for the final course of paving. In order for final paving to occur, all manhole and drainage structures need to be adjusted and sidewalk approaches to the crosswalks need to be replaced and upgraded. A sidewalk crew will continue to work during the day on State Street between Bailey Ave. and Taylor Street, while a second sidewalk crew is expected to begin working nights the week of June 4 on State Street from Taylor Street to Main Street. In an effort to meet the July 1 deadline for final paving, the sidewalk work will be prioritized to accommodate paving.

Remaining sidewalk replacement work will most likely continue in July after final paving.

 

City Council Adopts “Nuisance” Ordinance

MONTPELIER —  Property owners who allow their structures to become dilapidated, unsafe, rubbish-strewn and a threat to the public health will now have to either fix them up, or face the possibility of forced demolition.

City Council voted 5 to 1 in favor of the ordinance, with amendments, making it effective around June 9 — about 15 days after adoption during the May 24 meeting. Councilor Dona Bate was absent. Councilor Rosie Krueger voted against the measure after citing several concerns, including a fear that this could open the door to neighbors bullying neighbors if they don’t like how they keep their property. “I think we are putting out a tool here for people to use to bully each other and I don’t really want to do that,” Krueger said. She also expressed concern about adding to the building inspector’s workload. In addition, Krueger said, “I don’t think there is enough of a public interest in what property owners do on their property unless it is a public safety issue — and we have that public safety component taken care of already —  so those are briefly my concerns.”

However, the other council members disagreed and supported taking quick action.

Mayor John Hollar said that the ordinance has “high barriers” including a physical condition dangerous to children, unsanitary sewage, fire hazard, dilapidation and decay. “These are issues we ought to be addressing — it affects quality of life for people who live here,” Hollar said.

The City has a list of 14 properties that qualify for inspection under the new ordinance.

 

Playground Plans: New Equipment, Amphitheater, Soil Contamination Issues

MONTPELIER — Supporters of Union Elementary School have been working hard to raise funds for a new playground. The one there now is “in need of attention,” according to Principal Chris Hennessey, who went before City Council May 24 to see if any funds were available to support the project.

With an expected total cost of $749,000, $492,000 has been raised from a state grant ($150,000), Montpelier Public School Board ($305,000) and private donations ($37,000).

According to the plans, the playground will have a new structure and new plantings to provide shade. An outdoor ampitheater is also part of the design.

Challenges include the possibility of contaminated soil (and its removal) and “storm water management issues,” Hennessey said.

“This is city-owned land so we have an interest and responsibility toward this piece of land,” said Councilor Justin Turcotte.

Mayor John Hollar said that although the Department of Public Works is maxed out now, the City may “revisit prioritization” to include the playground project.

City Council made no promises, but asked to see future stormwater cost projections.

 

Thieves Steal Items From 83-year-old Man — Police Seek Info

MARSHFIELD — Vermont State Police in Middlesex responded to a larceny that occurred at 102 Hollister Hill Road May 22. The victim is Norman Dix, 83. Investigation showed that two people arrived at this address, where one stole several items (including a chainsaw, miscellaneous tools and a logging helmet), while the other drove a truck to the location. Attached is a picture of the vehicle involved.

Anybody with information is asked to contact Trooper Darryl Cremo at 229-9191 or Central Vermont Crime Stoppers at 1-800-529-9998.