Greensboro, News

Town Hall Conversion to Housing, Wastewater Treatment Take Center Stage

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GREENSBORO – Much of the April 25 select board meeting, involved reviewing a recap of discussions during the Greensboro Town Hall Redevelopment Meeting a day earlier, where a Rural Edge proposal to provide housing in the town hall building was discussed.

While that meeting was a presentation by Rural Edge and a wide-ranging discussion of issues surrounding the plan, the discussion at this meeting was primarily to decide whether to continue working with Rural Edge toward finalizing the proposal.

The board did decide to extend the option agreement with Rural Edge to December 31, 2024, during which a purchase and sale agreement will be developed for the town hall property that can then be presented to voters.

Devin Burgess made a public comment to say he signed a petition at the previous night’s housing meeting believing it was asking to simply slow down the process. He learned later that the petition took a stand against the project. He wanted the board to know he supports the project and didn’t mean to add his name to those opposed to it.

While discussions are happening with Rural Edge, the town will hold a public hearing within 30 days to discuss The Preservation Trust of Vermont’s Village Trust Initiative (VTI), with funding available to towns having a population of under 2,500.

The VTI “is a new program offering expertise and funding to help 20 small towns create or bolster a local community trust organization and take on a transformational revitalization project in the village.” It’s suggested that “communities that will be most successful in this program may . . . have an identified community need and demonstrated community support for the project and an identified building or site in the Village that could meet the identified need.”

Some want to include the former grange building in the VTI discussion, but that will require further investigation.

Greensboro has been considering a wastewater system for about five years. A committee has been formed and approximately $6 million in funding has been secured, but finding an acceptable location for the project has been difficult.

A motion that the town hold a public meeting on the wastewater project failed. Romans talked about the board being at capacity, suggesting that more volunteers are required. Stew Arnold volunteered to join Dan Predpall, Eric Hanson and Peter Romans on the Wastewater Committee.

A public hearing has been held about the possibility of reclassifying Barton Drive and White Road to Class 4, but prior to a board vote Romans will clarify how that might affect FEMA reimbursements.

The town expects to receive about $150k in FEMA reimbursements in the next few weeks.

Electrical upgrades to the firehouse have been completed and most alarm issues have been resolved. ​The fire department received approval for the purchase of two replacement self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units that allow firefighters to work in and around burning buildings.

The possibility of implementing a 1% local option tax on rooms and meals was discussed, which might raise on the order of $10k each year after the state keeps 30% for administration. A majority of attendees supported the idea, however, a motion to hold a public meeting in the summer to discuss the tax did not receive a second and the motion failed.

Caspian Arts will use the former grange building during the summer and fall of 2024.

Liz Baum was appointed to the recreation committee. Board members supported the idea of adult swim lessons and learned that the swim program has enough funding to operate this summer.

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

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