Intersection facelift given go-ahead
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | August 21,2013
The corner of West, Wales and Church streets is getting a facelift.
The Board of Aldermen gave final approval Monday to an upgrade of curbs and sidewalks at the intersection, awarding a $59,206 contract to Case Street Redi Mix. The project will be paid for mainly from the Zamias fund, which was created from impact fees paid by the Diamond Run Mall and intended for improvements to downtown.
City Engineer Evan Pilachowski said the Department of Public Works found $5,000 in its budget to contribute to the project.
The project was the brainchild of Alderman Christopher Siliski, who hopes to use it as a model for an economic development tool in the city.
The idea, Siliski said, is to reward major private investments in the city like the $15 million Community College of Vermont building recently constructed at that corner by making additional infrastructure improvements around those investments.
He said the city could point to this practice as an incentive to developers.
Siliski also argued against parceling out the work over multiple budget years.
“I’m a firm believer in, if you’re going to do a project, do 100 percent of the project,” he said. “Get it done.”
The sole dissent came from Alderman Jon Kiernan, who has previously resisted using the Zamias fund for the project and said Monday that it seemed largely aesthetic.
Others on the board responded that aesthetic considerations have value — Alderman Thomas DePoy suggested that making the area more attractive would make it easier to find a new tenant for the soon-to-be-vacated Home Service Store offices.
Case Street Redi Mix was the lowest of four bidders on the project.
Pilachowski said the city will move quickly to accomplish the work before the end of the construction season.