Waterbury municipal building options to be unveiled Feb. 13
WATERBURY — A Montpelier architecture firm is expected to unveil possible options for a new municipal center next week, while officials say Waterbury may have missed out on additional aid for the damaged village and town offices because paperwork wasn’t filed.
Black River Design Architects is scheduled to deliver a draft report during a Feb. 13 meeting at 7 p.m. at the Main Street firehouse. The report will include recommendations about whether to demolish, flood-proof or elevate Stanley Hall at the state office complex. Local officials have eyed the building as a possible site for new village and town offices, the police station, the Waterbury Public Library, the Waterbury Historical Society and a community space.
“That will be kind of an unveiling of the options out there,” said Barbara Farr, Waterbury’s long-term community recovery director, on Tuesday.
The information presented by the architectural firm will help inform town officials on how to proceed with a special meeting planned for just before town meeting begins. The special meeting, set for 9 to 10 a.m. on Town Meeting Day, March 5, could be simply for informational purposes for community members, or it could become a more formal public hearing, which would be an essential element in applying for additional funding from a community development block grant disaster recovery program, Farr said. The money could help with the acquisition and construction of a new municipal complex.
In 2011, Tropical Storm Irene flooded the basement and first floor of the village-owned office building at 51 S. Main St. An oil tank that tipped over in the basement also caused significant oil contamination, requiring the removal of floor joists and floorboards.
Waterbury never completed a more detailed project worksheet that it might have to secure additional federal emergency funding to address long-term damage to that building. The additional worksheet could conceivably have resulted in the town getting significant additional aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — perhaps more than $100,000, according to Farr.
Waterbury completed an initial 13-page project worksheet for the site that estimated around $79,000 in immediate damage from Irene’s flooding, Farr said. The additional project worksheet was never filed, though, due to an oversight and not because of anyone’s fault, she added. With the deadline for that second worksheet long past, Waterbury’s hope to file the new paperwork will first require FEMA’s permission.
Farr said she has worked as the Vermont Emergency Management director, and Village President P. Howard “Skip” Flanders credited her experience in the field as crucial to realizing that more federal money might yet be secured.
Waterbury Public Works Director Alec Tuscany and officials with FEMA and the state are expected to pursue a more detailed project worksheet if the village is allowed to proceed.
The flooding forced the relocation of the village and town offices into the newly built Main Street firehouse. The police station moved into a temporary rented space across the street, with insurance payments paying the rent.
In preparing its report, Black River Design Architects has been meeting with various local groups to consider how the town’s many administrative and programming needs would be met in a new space.
In other news from Monday’s village, town and library meetings:
— Consultants will deliver a presentation about two phases of flood studies at an 8 p.m. meeting Feb. 19 at the Main Street fire station.
— An upcoming bond vote concerning the village’s wastewater treatment plant has a new price tag of around $7 million. That’s up from the earlier estimate of $6.7 million.
Village trustees learned Monday that the jump of $295,000 is due to the state requiring the village to increase the number of sludge drying beds proposed for the plant as well as the cost of adding roofs above some of the beds that will be outside.
Flanders said the increased cost will be part of the state’s share in the project. The local share remains at $355,000.
The bond would fund upgrades to the village’s wastewater treatment plant on U.S. Route 2, creating a 3,700-square-foot building and new system for an enhanced chemical precipitation process to reduce phosphorus levels.
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