Tag Archives: Waterbury

Long-term disaster recovery funds move forward, but some projects rejected

State officials and the Vermont Community Development Board, which have more than $21 million in federal money to distribute, recommended approval of four projects across the state Wednesday and denied two Waterbury projects.

The unsuccessful projects included a plan to study reusing the flood-damaged heating plant at the Waterbury state office complex, which board member Sarah Carpenter questioned due to the delayed rebuilding there, and a local development corporation the town has been seeking to create.

A $100,000 grant to study options for building a new municipal complex in Waterbury and to help with pre-building site work was recommended for approval, though.
Another $100,000 grant to study rebuilding or renovating options that could affect three Brattleboro Housing Authority sites that involve elderly tenants or tenants with disabilities.

One housing site there, Melrose Terrace, is located in a severe flooding area that normally wouldn’t be eligible for rebuilding funds, but the federal government has given a special exemption.

Up to $509,000 was targeted for re-developing a supermarket in Johnson, which has been without one since May 2011 flooding.

The largest grant, $1 million, was for three regional business development corporations to help with business assistance.

The recommendations become final when the state’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development secretary, Lawrence Miller, signs off on the measures.

State officials soon expect 10 to 15 more applications. Nearly $10 million is already being transferred for home-related projects, such as commercial and residential buyouts of properties damaged by natural disasters.

See Thursday’s paper for a full report.

Report on state offices to be unveiled in Friday meeting

A long-awaited report by the architectural firm Freeman French Freeman will lay out three options for how the state could replace the Waterbury state office complex that was flooded during Tropical Storm Irene.

The Shumlin administration plans to unveil the Freeman French Freeman report this Friday during a meeting that will include Waterbury officials on the fourth floor of the Pavilion Building in Montpelier. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. Continue reading

Shumlin plan: Barre to get 170 state workers; Waterbury’s fate uncertain

MONTPELIER – Under a proposal from Gov. Peter Shumlin, Barre will get 170 state workers, Waterbury will ideally be made whole again, and Washington County will benefit from a net gain of state employees.

During a press briefing with reporters before Shumlin's budget address, administration officials laid out the governor's vision for solving one of the most vexing issues that has cropped up as a result of Tropical Storm Irene: replacing the flooded out state office complex in Waterbury that previously housed 1,500 workers.

Shumlin's plan calls for moving about 350 Agency of Natural Resources employees from Waterbury to the National Life building in Montpelier; moving 170 Department of Education workers from three separate locations to downtown Barre; and an attempt to bring Agency of Human Resources employees from Chittenden County to Waterbury. Under the administration's ideal scenario, Waterbury would end up with more than 1,000 Agency of Human Services employees.

The outcome of the shuffling of state workers could have major economic impacts, positive or negative, for the towns that lose or gain state workers.

Waterbury officials have been seeking certainty since shortly after the flood that the 1,500 displaced state workers – and the economic benefits they bring with them – would return to the central Vermont town. 

Shumlin's plan won't give them that certainty, because he still wants to vet any plan to go back to Waterbury and it could be too expensive.

“Our hope is we can deal with the flood protection and modernization issues in an affordable fashion, but we're not going to jump ahead,” Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding said.

State officials still plan to view an alternate scenario for a different site for Agency of Human Services workers at a central Vermont site not at the office complex in Waterbury, Spaulding said.

“We will also be doing a scenario in central Vermont so taxpayers, the Legislature and the governor can look at what is the cost of doing to that in Waterbruy compared to doing it somewhere else,” Spaulding said.

— Thatcher Moats

Waterbury tells Shumlin: Keep the state offices here

WATERBURY – Gov. Peter Shumlin visited Waterbury to tour flood damage Thursday afternoon.

While Shumlin's message to the people whose businesses and homes were damaged was to keep smiling, Waterbury officials had a different message to try and hammer home.

State Representatives Rebecca Ellis and Tom Stevens made sure to stress how important the state complex is to the economic health of the community in response to rumors the state may relocate the hundreds of employees that work there.

-Jenna Pizzi