Hardwick, News

New Bridge and Civic Standard’s Plans Approved by Development Review Board

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photo courtesy Engineering Ventures
Hardwick Pedestrian Bridge Replacement & Park Project Floodplain Report of March 15, 2024.
Hardwick’s locally famous “Swinging Bridge,” closed for several years, has received Development Review Board approval to be replaced by a new, fixed bridge.

HARDWICK – Hardwick’s Development Review Board (DRB) held a hearing on April 3 to consider two applications for conditional use permits.

First up was the Town of Hardwick’s project to rebuild the 105 foot long pedestrian bridge over the Lamoille River beside the former Hardwick Gazette building now owned by The Civic Standard.

The project is located in the compact residential zoning district and also in the Lamoille River’s floodway, requiring the town to request a Conditional Use and Floodplain Review.

After a presentation by engineers and town staff, DRB Chair John Mandeville and town Zoning Administrator, Kristen Leahy walked board and community members through the detailed process of considering very specific criteria and noting that the standards were met in the project application and associated plans.

The current bridge has been closed for several years due to unsafe conditions caused by deteriorating cables and their anchors. Damage to walls along the river on the Main Street side of the bridge in recent flooding has further undermined the safety of the bridge. The project will rebuild those walls to protect against future flood events.

DRB members unanimously approved the conditional use application for the bridge with several conditions: All state and federal permits must be in place before work begins, all performance standards in Hardwick’s development bylaws must be met, construction must be completed within one construction season, and plans must be adjusted to show details of the new bridge as it is actually constructed, making note of all changes made during construction.

Next up was The Civic Standard’s request to review their plan for the historic non-conforming structure also in the Compact Residential zoning district. They intend a mixed use property to be used as a community center, cultural facility and office. No substantial changes are anticipated for the property, also located in the Lamoille River floodway.

The fire marshall has limited the building’s occupancy to 49 people. Town water and sewer services are sufficient to support the new use. People attending activities there generally park in long term lots. Arrangements have been made with Mike’s Service Center next door for after-hours parking.

DRB members again approved the application, requiring only that all federal and state permits be obtained and that The Civic Standard conforms to the town’s Unified Development Bylaws.

Paul Fixx is editor of The Hardwick Gazette and lives in Hardwick.

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