by Dot Helling
This “snowbird” is about to fly her Vermont coop for the snowy, sunny Rockies. Saying farewell to my home state, even for a few months, always tears at my heart strings. In anticipating my 2018 return home, I’ve put together my “Montpelier Wish List.” This list is by no means exclusive or fully inclusive.
First and foremost, I wish for The Bridge to find a strong managing editor to carry on the amazing work of Carla Occaso, and for broad community support to continue to keep The Bridge economically viable.
For the city and the Jump and Splash task force, I wish great strides forward with plans for a new recreation center. I wish for financial kickstarters to step up and support the creation of an enhanced recreational and aquatics facility that will serve the health and wellness of our residents, while providing needed learn-to-swim and rehab programs at affordable prices.
Regarding municipal projects, I wish for the successful completion of the Montpelier Makeover, a reduction in the use of salt, the start of construction on the transit center at One Taylor Street (the “Carr” lot), fewer and safer crosswalks, and no more potholes. Most importantly, I wish for our developers and politicians to focus on creating affordable housing and making our city more accessible to moderate-income families with children.
With respect to issues of controversial debate, I wish an end to the bickering over the four-way stop signs at the intersection of Spring and Elm and over dog and owner behavior in Hubbard Park. And let’s bury the discussion about discriminating dog parks for aggressive versus gentle dogs and instead train their humans.
I wish for increased consideration and law abidance by motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists in negotiating our downtown streets and intersections, and particularly wish all would learn the proper use of rotaries and follow the rules of the road. I wish for smaller cars, fewer SUVs, and the banning of Tundras so we all have more room to park and increased visibility for pulling out and passing.
I want more commuter rail connections in Montpelier to destinations like Boston, Montreal, Washington D.C., and New York City. I believe that by the time I return in the spring, the USPO, UPS, and FedEx will deliver to the correct addresses and leave packages in secure places, not just deposited on a street-side front step.
As to downtown amenities, I wish for an affordable “bacon, eggs, and good coffee” breakfast spot and hang-out that opens at 6 am, for all of our storefronts to be filled with bustling businesses, and for more pizza (just kidding on that one). I want a full house at all Lost Nation Theatre performances and better public notice, e.g., “A Montpelier Universal Calendar,” of all municipal and private public events.
I wish this winter to pass with no more trees being whacked by snowplows or pushed over by snowplow piles, and for no more trees to be weed-whacked or volcano mulched during any season. I want our residents and visitors to take notice of our beautiful trees and bring attention to those that are damaged or diseased.
We have community leaders who understand that environmental change is coming radically and rapidly. As articulated by other residents, I wish for a community conversation to change the way Montpelier approaches projects, so that we recognize the opportunities to prepare now for this changed world we live in, that we give everyone a voice in this new reality, and that we grow our sense of community.
I love this small city. I invite every resident to do her or his part to keep making Montpelier better, and I will continue to endeavor to do my part while away. See you in the spring!