City Hall Reporter's Notebook: Flood barrier edition
Why does it seem like Mayor Christopher Louras is always the one putting that flood barrier across the transit center?
It’s good to have a hands-on mayor, I suppose, but shouldn’t somebody else be seeing to that so he can go do more mayor stuff?
“I am last in line,” Louras said. “I do have a key to the box.”
On a normal day, Louras said, the task would fall to the Department of Public Works, the fire department and the police before him. It just didn’t work that way with the storm that hit eight days ago.
It almost worked that way. Louras said he was driving by as firefighters were preparing to put the barrier up — it fell to them as it was after hours for DPW. Then they were called away to the structure fire on Howe Street. Chief Robert Schlachter remained behind to tackle the barrier.
Yes, that would be the Chief Schlachter who recently returned to work after a heart attack and subsequent surgery.
“I had to order Schlachter away, based on the fact that he’s still on modified duty,” Louras said.
So, with a recall of DPW employees having just been made, and figuring the police were more needed backing up the fire department on Howe Street, Louras and a state employee at the garage set to getting the barrier in place.
While we’re being all annoyingly inquisitive, why is it the city’s responsibility to keep the state’s building from filling with water that then mucks up half of downtown? Why isn’t the state putting the barrier up?
“That was the deal we cut with the state,” Louras said. “They would engage engineers to put in the valve system and the hump.”
Those would be two other anti-flood measures, the latter referring to the grade of the pavement at the entrance to the transit center.
“They also purchased, at our request, the barrier,” Louras said. “The deal was, the state pays for it, we deploy it.”
It’s the first Board of Aldermen meeting of the month of July, starting at 7 tonight.
Tuesday, the calendar shows a meeting of the newly reconstituted Housing Board at 6 p.m. Alas, the calendar shows no agenda. Nor can I tell you what big announcement the recreation department plans to make at White’s Park at noon, but I can tell you that they’re making one.
City Hall is closed Thursday in observance of the Fourth of July. The Vermont Division of Fire Safety would like you to please not set off any illegal fireworks, and to show due caution with legal incendiaries like sparklers.