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Select Board Discusses RuralEdge Proposal Developments

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GREENSBORO – “There is no one solution,” said select board member Ellen Celnik at the select board meeting on June 12.

Greensboro voices expressed concerns about the town hall RuralEdge (RE) proposal, while select board members defended their process.

Jennifer Ranz read a letter she submitted to the board, requesting they host an open meeting about town-owned properties, adding that the community has faced “years of delay.”

Celnik responded that there have been multiple meetings held, such as the April 10 select board meeting which had a lengthy question and answer period. Celnik also cited logistical concerns like water, septic, and parking that have yet to be finalized. Until more is known about these issues, there’s not much to have a meeting about, Celnik said.

Ranz disagreed, claiming that there is plenty to discuss about the town hall and RE project, stating “There are voices in this town that have not yet been heard.” Ranz went on to say the board voted to support applying to the Village Trust Initiative (VTI), yet they renewed the option agreement with RE, ultimately negating the VTI application.

Celnik said that part of the select board’s job is to look at priorities identified in the town plan, and housing is a big one. Ranz suggested the town is ignoring their own vote to take advantage of the VTI study, adding, “Your responsibility is to the people in this town.”

Board member David Kelly interjected, “We are going to pursue the Rural Edge proposal. There have been plenty of opportunities for the past five years.” He said people can hold meetings any time they want, such as the meeting held at Fellowship Hall that the board had nothing to do with. Kelly added that it’s possible the RE plan won’t happen, as there are still many things that have to be figured out and agreed upon.

Board member Eric Hanson said the communications committee is going to make recommendations on ways the town can improve communication with the public. Hanson said once the report is received and reviewed, the board will likely schedule a public meeting on the town hall.

Greensboro resident Davis Barnett said a public meeting need not necessarily be held in disagreement with the Rural Edge plan; the town should consider different ideas before “we give away our town hall and village green . . . there’s no cost to the town,” he added. If the RuralEdge project proceeds, the relocation of town offices will present a larger expense.

Concluding the RE portion of the discussion, Eric Hanson said the board has designated MacNeil and Ellen Celnik to negotiate the purchase and sales agreement with Rural Edge. Meetings with RE will begin the week of June 17.

A real estate attorney has been retained to assist the board with the “considerable number of questions and concerns” that need to be addressed. Once the process is further along, it would make sense to have a public meeting,” Celnik added.

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