Aldermen to consider plans to improve intersection
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | July 12,2013
The Board of Aldermen will discuss how much they want to spend on the corner of Wales, West and Church streets Monday.
Alderman Christopher Siliski said that a Finance Committee ended Wednesday with two versions of a plan for improvements at the intersection — one estimated to remain within the $50,000 previously endorsed by the board and another that would add some additional improvements for another $30,000.
Siliski came to the board with a list of improvements he would like to make at the corner and a request to pay for them with $50,000 from the Zamias fund.
What he didn’t have were cost estimates for the various improvements. The aldermen voted last month to set aside $50,000 from the fund, which was created from impact fees paid by the Diamond Run Mall and intended for improvements to the downtown, for the project once Siliski had specifics.
When City Engineer Evan Pilachowski drew those up, Siliski said, the total came to $80,000, and the Finance Committee had to prioritize.
For $50,000, Siliski said, the city would place new sidewalks and curbing on West Street across from the Community College of Vermont and along Church Street in front of the Longfellow Building. The estimate also includes a new storm drain at the corner.
“It wouldn’t solve the flooding problem we all know happens there, but it would help keep the flooding off that corner when there are heavy rains,” he said. “That corner is quite low. Even when there is normal rain, it’s under water, basically.”
Left out, Siliski said, is the stretch of Church Street across from Longfellow.
“At least, aesthetically, those cars (frequently parking there) are blocking the blight that is there, the lack of curbing,” Siliski said.
Siliski has said he hopes to use the project as a pilot for a program in which the city makes infrastructure improvements at locations where significant private investment has been made in the city. He chose the corner because of the new CCV campus.