The city has received preliminary design proposals for the downtown hotel.
Zoning Administrator Tara Kelly stressed the preliminary nature of the design, which DEW Construction submitted ahead of a meeting with the Development Review Board and Architectural Review committee scheduled for May 15.
“I don’t want to cause confusion for people since these are likely to continue to evolve,” she said regarding the designs. “The purpose of this meeting is to start to get a feel for what will be the most successful design and layout for this property. No decisions will be made at this meeting.”
The Williston-based developer plans to build a $20 million hotel on the site occupied by the former Rutland Herald building and downtown parking pit. The Mitchell family retained ownership of the building when it sold the newspaper in 2016. It has been vacant since the Herald moved to Grove Street in 2017. DEW signed a $620,000 purchase agreement last year, contingent on the project getting a “New Market” tax credit from the state. Robert Mitchell said Friday that the sale had not yet closed.
“They did give us an indication it’s moving forward,” Mitchell said. “They don’t have the allocation letter yet.”
Mayor David Allaire said the meeting was an attempt to get a head start on the permitting process and figure out what needed to be done.
A call to DEW was not immediately returned Friday afternoon.
The plans show a drive-in entrance with a covered unloading area off Center Street with a building entrance opening into a two-story lobby and common area. A four-story block of rooms would run along Wales Street with a total of 124 units. The building would partially over the hotel’s parking lot, the bulk of which would be on the northwestern portion of the property.
A 2013 study commissioned by the Downtown Rutland Partnership and the Rutland Redevelopment Authority found there was a market for a hotel downtown, and the parking pit was identified as one of the potential sites. A plan to build one over Depot Park never came to fruition, and representatives of DEW have said they were eyeing the pit and the Herald building for some time.
The pit was the site of the Berwick Hotel, which was destroyed in a fire in 1973. Contamination at the site is going to require an estimated $500,000 cleanup.
Andrea Borchlewicz will be the first woman to serve as marshal of the Rutland Loyalty Day Parade in its more than 50-year history.
“I feel so incredibly honored,” the 32-year-old Afghanistan veteran said. “I had to say ‘yes.’ There’s no way you say ‘no’ to that.”
Borchlewicz, who lives in West Rutland and works as a nurse at Rutland Regional Medical Center, was a surgical technician in the U.S. Air Force, serving on active duty from 2005 to 2009 and then as part of the ready reserve until 2013. Originally from Buffalo, New York, she said she was unfamiliar with Loyalty Day before getting involved with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.
“The VFW is near and dear to my heart,” she said.
Borchlewicz said she is proud to join in expressing love for American and honoring her fellow veterans.
“We talked about having a woman for a parade marshal because we’ve never had one,” organizer Shella Mills said. “We thought this would be a good year.”
Mills said the parade, which steps off at 2 p.m. Sunday and winds around downtown Rutland, will feature the familiar collection of floats, fire departments, antique cars, color guards and marching bands. She said it is a smaller parade than in years past, but that it still has more than 60 entries.
“There’s a few that, for some reason, they couldn’t do it this year,” she said.
Loyalty Day was created in the 1950s as a response to the Soviet-era May Day parades held in Communist Bloc countries. Rutland’s parade was organized for years by Mills’ uncle, Ron Fairbanks. Mills has taken over the reins alongside co-organizer Donna Manfredi.
“He still has a hand in it,” she said of Fairbanks. “We go to him when we need something. The thing is, we’re losing people who’ve helped with it. People have passed away.”
Mills said organizers are hoping a new generation of volunteers will begin to step up to help keep the parade going. She said they have a total of 15 to 20, but could use more help with tasks like sending out invitations to participate and soliciting donations.
“I don’t think there’s any particular skill we need,” she said. “Just someone that’s willing to work hard.”
The Veterans of Foreign Wars will also host its annual Loyalty Day luncheon from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with music and dancing starting around 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children under 6.
Wednesday was a long one for five members of the Rutland City Fire Department.
After tackling a general alarm fire before sunrise that displaced 10 people at 75 South Main St., the department’s Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting team left the state for a day-long training session ending at 9:30 p.m.
Rutland City Fire Department Lt. Scott Mangan said Friday the call for the 75 South Main St. fire came in at 5:08 a.m. “We were released at 10:31 a.m.” he said. After that, the team was off to the New Hampshire Fire Academy, in Concord, New Hampshire, a two-hour journey.
“We had some downtime,” he said, about an hour in the hotel where they stayed, before they spent the day practicing how to tackle aircraft fires.
He said it can be hard for small departments to get training time at the New Hampshire academy, so Rutland City coordinates with the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
The Rutland Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) team is contracted by the state of Vermont to provide fire service to the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport. This is required given the volume of air traffic the airport receives, Mangan said. Stationed at the airport is a specialty firetruck only ARFF members are certified to use. Mangan said most fire trucks are designed to remain stationary once they’re deployed to fight a fire. The airport truck, however, is far more mobile.
Mangan said it’s rare the fire department is dispatched to the airport. It’s also rare for the ARFF team, or any local firefighter, to be active for so long, as they were Wednesday, but it does happen.
He said joining the ARFF team is voluntary. It requires 40 hours of classroom training to start, and once every 12 months those on the team have to attend a training as they did Wednesday.
Mangan said the ARFF team training consists of a full-scale mock-up aircraft being set on fire. Team members practice battling blazes in various parts of the aircraft, from the cockpit, to passenger area, to the cargo hold. They also practice searching the vehicle for people, and tackling fires in its electrical systems.
He said aircraft carry far more fuel than ground vehicles, typically, which makes them challenging. Firefighters also practice dousing ignited fuel in the runway, and managing fuel spills.
Mangan said Clarendon Fire Department responds to issues at the airport. They and the ARFF team have joint-command of scenes there.
On the ARFF team are: Deputy Chief William Lovett, and firefighters Victor Miglorie, T.J. Lacz, Rodney Kenyon and Mangan, who serves as the team’s coordinator.
About 150 nurses will be in Rutland County at the Killington Grand for the first Rutland Community Nursing Symposium, organized by Rutland Regional Medical Center.
Betsy Hassan, a nurse and director of nursing excellence for the hospital, said the focus of the symposium will be innovation and advancing practice in the Rutland area but also showcasing what nurses do for their patients.
The symposium, timed to coincide with National Nurses Week starting May 6, is the first organized by Rutland Regional Medical Center, and hospital staff believe it’s the first in Vermont. The goal is to make it an annual event.
“We haven’t had a venue for this, where we get together collectively as a nursing group within the community, before so this is the first time we’re doing it and we’re really excited about it,” Hassan said.
Other health care organizations are sponsors of the symposium and nurses are coming from around the state and beyond. Some nursing students from Castleton University are expected as well.
“We see it as an opportunity for recruitment efforts and also re-engagement of nursing staff. They can see it as a benefit to staying here that we support them professionally and put time and resources into supporting their professional development,” she said.
The diversity of attendance is important, according to Hassan, because there are not many opportunities for nurses to get to know each other, network and share professional experiences.
Most of the presenters are from RRMC or the Rutland area. Topics will include ways to stop bleeding during an emergency, management of sepsis and care for patients with autism.
One 15-minute presentation, “Safety for Nurses,’ will be given by Chuck Cacciatore, chief of security for the Rutland hospital.
The “Stop the Bleed” training is a national program for applying tourniquets in response to the number of shooting incidents across the country, Hassan explained.
About 20 “poster presentations,” which Hassan said are evidence-based practice work. The large posters provide details about a nursing practice.
While the symposium was being planned, Hassan said she and other organizers, like Amy Martone and members of RRMC’s nursing governance council, the magnet program specialist at RRMC, were thinking modestly.
Because it was their first symposium, they hoped maybe 50 nurses would attend.
Instead, they had to cut off registration this week when they reached 150, the maximum number the symposium could accept.
The symposium has its roots in another Nurses Week event. A documentary on nursing was screened at the Paramount Theatre in 2018.
“We had a great turnout for that but we thought, ‘What’s something else that we can do to bring the community together?’ Amy and I were at another conference and we said, ‘We can do this.’ So we brought it to the nursing shared governance council and they said, ‘Yeah, let’s do this,’’ Hassan said.
Those who participate in the full day of programs will get six hours toward the continuing education development required of nurses.
The symposium is free for RRMC nurses and nurses working for the other sponsors and $20 for other nurses.
Raider laxers win
Rutland boys lacrosse quick attack sustains to score impressive victory, 11-5, over Brattleboro Colonels on Friday at Alumni Field. B1
The nation’s unemployment rate fell to a five-decade low in April, according to the latest US jobs report. B4
From the land
Our landscape tells the story of how natural resources were harnessed to provide for families, build a thriving Vermont and contribute to our growing nation’s economy. C5
Vt. to Hollywood
Filmmaker Jeremy Rosen, 40, recounts how he went from being a kid skiing Okemo to eventually producing films. His film, “Charlie Says,” has its Vermont debut on Friday. D1