Rockingham Selectboard discusses station ownership | New
BELLOWS FALLS, Vermont – The Rockingham Selectboard discussed station updates and grants with Development Director Gary Fox.
On Tuesday, November 17, Fox explained that the Windham regional commission facilitated the request for the first phase of the environmental and hazardous materials feasibility studies. Fox reminded the board of directors at the 2020 town hall meeting that taxpayers approved a $ 12,500 item for the feasibility study at the station. Fox said staff helped secure matching funds totaling $ 25,000.
Three architectural firms – Banwell Architects from Lebanon, New Hampshire, Austin Design from Brattleboro and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin from South Burlington – have pre-bid for their site visits. The price was to be announced by Wednesday, December 15, so that the environmental hazardous materials analysis and feasibility study would begin in spring 2022.
Part of the study would identify sources of financing for city property and help find private operators for the use of the building. Fox explained that this “would ensure that the waiting area portion of the station remains on public transit in perpetuity.”
The city would also be eligible for funding sources from the USDA Community Facilities Grant and the Vermont Community Development Program Implementation Grant.
âThe state has indicated that it will include our station in their [Federal Transit Administration] application âas part of the $ 1.3 trillion infrastructure program, according to Fox.
Bonnie North asked how much it would cost to purchase the station. Fox said $ 250,000, but that the grants could help so the city doesn’t pay that amount. The lot consisted of the passenger station, the freight station and a gravel parking area.
President Peter Golec questioned the local game. Fox said that number will become clear in the coming months.
City Manager Scott Pickup said they may add an article to Town Meeting for local sharing consideration.
Golec said as a historical fact 15 years ago this failed.
âThe feeling was that the city didn’t need to own the station,â he said.
Fox replied that this was the reason the station was deteriorating and “Why weren’t we able to put a few million dollars into project funding?” “
âWe are at this place,â Fox said. “If we don’t do something with it now, it’ll end up going in the direction of [Robertson Paper Mill and the YMCA] buildings. “
Fox continued, âWe have the opportunity [with the train station] to do it now.
He said that for federal infrastructure funding, they should know that the station is owned by the municipality. He said this was part of Windham County’s regional economic strategy.
âForward. . . if we lose the station, we lose access to trains and transport, âGolec said.
North said it’s important for people to understand the steps needed to save the station.
âWe have known for years [about 66 Atkinson St. deteriorating], we don’t want to repeat this with the station, âshe said.
âEspecially since there is money in this freight bill and for Amtrak.
The next meeting of the selection committee is Wednesday, December 1 at 5:30 p.m., with additional time allowed for budget proposals.