BRANDON — With the help of a little less than $100,000 in grants, the town aims to have an improved parking area completed sometime in August.
According to an email shared with the Rutland Herald by Devon Neary, of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, the town of Brandon was sent a letter in mid-May by Josh Hanford, commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development, stating the town had been awarded $80,500 by the Downtown Development Board from the Downtown Transportation Fund and $12,000 from the Clean Water Fund to complete a parking project.
Town Manager David Atherton said Monday this is on top of the approximately $40,000 the town was awarded last year to install four electric vehicle charging outlets on town-owned land behind the former Mobil station across from Town Hall.
Atherton said the town had planned to have the electric vehicle chargers installed this past April, but like many other projects, it was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant application almost went unapplied for, said Atherton.
“You have to build it in two years, and I didn’t think that we would be able to get that done in a two-year time frame,” he said. “We decided to apply for it, and the way Segment Six is actually wrapping up, it’s freed us up a little bit.”
Segment Six was the complete overhaul of Route 7 through downtown Brandon that saw the road straightened, sidewalks replaced and upgraded along with water and sewer infrastructure, as well as new lighting and streetscaping. The two-year project’s completion was to be celebrated this spring, but the pandemic has put that off.
Atherton said the parking area in question was purchased from the gas station owners several years ago.
“We were anticipating a need for parking downtown after we did all this,” said Atherton, referring to the Segment Six work. “There’s definitely a need there now.”
The lot is available for public parking now. It’s a gravel patch of land with one light fixture. Atherton said it will be paved with parking spaces marked and enough lighting added to cover the whole thing.
“It’s a safe area for parents to drop their kids off for things at the Town Hall, it’ll be well-lit,” he said. “We’re talking about putting some surveillance down there so there’s one more safety factor. There’s a light down there already, it just doesn’t light the whole thing. It was a makeshift parking lot for quite a while. It will fit in with everything else now.”
The lot served as a staging area for Casella Construction, the general contractor for the Segment Six project.
Atherton said the grant funds are reimbursement funds that come with a 50% match, so anything the town gets it will also have to spend, though in-kind work counts.
“We still have to fine-tune the design of the lot and I think we’re going to do a majority of the site work in-house with our phenomenal new highway department, the guys know what they’re doing,” said Atherton.