Hardwick, News

Board Discussion Indicates Pedestrian Bridge Completion Expected Next Year

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by Gazette Staff

HARDWICK – At its May 4 regular meeting, the Hardwick Select Board discussed potential changes to the speed limit ordinance, finalized the financing for the purchase of the gravel pit, and reviewed the construction schedule for the pedestrian bridge in Hardwick Village.

There was no town manager report at the meeting, so the first presentation was the road foreman report, given by Tom Fadden. He reported that, due to the rain, there are a lot of potholes on the back roads. The road crew continues to grade the roads, which included Mackville, Hardwick Farms, Dutton Road, Nichols, and Mountain View Road. They also hauled some gravel and spent a day working at the wastewater plant helping with the hydraulic curtain and aeration systems as part of the upgrade process. They have also been doing truck maintenance.

Board member Shari Cornish asked about switching out the road banners. Fadden indicated that they could do this. He reported that the crew put out trash cans, benches, and cleaned the Peace Park as part of spring clean-up.

The Hardwick Police Department (HPD) report was presented by Police Chief Mike Henry. Henry reported an issue with a cruiser that was having an issue that has been fixed. The cruiser is back in service. The board also discussed updates to the speed limit ordinance. Henry explained that most of the changes were in reorganization and formatting, though he wants to make some additional changes to parking regulations. The board proposed holding a hearing on the topic on June 1, at 5:30 p.m., before the regular select board meeting.

The next item for discussion was the possibility of using some of the town’s fund balance to reduce the amount of the gravel pit bond. Business Manager Casey Rowell presented an analysis of the financial impact of borrowing the full $500,000 approved by voters or using $100,000 of town fund balance to reduce the amount to $400,000. With the $400,000, there are interest savings of about $40,000. At the current interest rate of 2.75 percent, the town would earn approximately $72,000 in interest over 20 years. However, Rowell said, we should not expect to earn that percentage for the whole 20 years. Using a 1.5 percent average yield, the interest earned would be about $35,000. The board decided to use the full bond amount of $500,000 that the voters approved.

After discussion, the board decided to wait until July to make an appointment to the open seat on the planning commission, as there are only six weeks left to the term.

Next, the board voted unanimously to authorize the application for a Municipal Services Program Grant of $5,000 from the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District and authorize the town manager to execute any necessary documents.

In select board reports, board member Elizabeth Dow reported that on May 15 at the Town House, the Hardwick Historical Society (HHS) will have their annual meeting, which includes a free presentation of the history of bicycling in Vermont from 1880-1920. There will be a reception at the Depot afterward, sponsored by HHS.

Vice-chair Ceilidh Galloway-Kane noted that on Wednesday, May 17, the Hardwick Conservation Commission will have a kickoff for the Natural Resource Inventory at the Memorial building at 6:30 p.m.

The final discussion was about the timeline for rebuilding the pedestrian bridge. and if it will be able to happen this year. It was reported that construction will take six months. Given the boring and environmental work that is still needed, it is not likely that the bridge will be installed this year.

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