KILLINGTON — The town economy is growing, according to local business owners, and with that growth comes a greater need for bus service to ferry workers between their jobs and Rutland.
The Select Board plans to discuss asking The Bus to extend its service throughout the summer. Selectman Jim Haff said at a board meeting on May 7 that he recently met with several business owners, people from the Killington Pico Area Association, Killington Mountain Resort and The Bus to talk about extending service.
Haff said The Bus doesn’t run past 6 p.m. between Easter and Thanksgiving. Haff asked the board to schedule the matter for a full discussion at its next regular meeting on May 21, to which it agreed.
Haff said the Agency of Transportation (AOT) has a grant available to cover the cost. With no assistance, the price would be about $53,000, Haff said. With the AOT grant, only approximately $11,000 would be needed for the match.
Mike Coppinger, executive director of the Killington Pico Area Association, said Tuesday he believes the town, ski resort and potentially local business owners will figure out a way to come up with the $11,000 needed to extend The Bus service, as all would benefit from it.
“Lots of business owners have been talking about it,” he said. “It’s difficult to get workers up here, lots of them live in Rutland.”
Christopher Karr, a member of the town Planning Commission who owns The Foundry, Jax Food and Games, Charity’s Tavern & Restaurant and Pickle Barrel Nightclub, said Tuesday in an interview the town’s economy has changed in the past 10 years, thanks in large part to the development of Killington Ski Resort as a year-round operation.
He said fall and winter workers take The Bus without issue, for the most part, but now restaurants and the like are keeping their doors open in the summer, which is a problem when The Bus stops at 6 p.m. and people’s shifts are ending hours later. Some businesses, like his, have their own vans, but some workers clock out later than others, making this a less-than-ideal option.
Karr said he’s confident some arrangement will be made to cover the $11,000 match. Killington’s infrastructure needs have been increasing steadily, owing to the growth of the resort.
In the past several years, Killington Mountain Ski Resort has made several announcements about multi-million dollar investments in its infrastructure.
Many have involved snowmaking and things that cater to skiers and snowboarders, but it’s also made investments in bicycling and other warm-weather activities.
Karr said in the past few years the town has moved from relying on elected constables to having a full-time police chief. It’s also working on building a new public safety building to house the fire department and police. In terms of transportation, the Planning Commission has looked at bus pull-offs and bus shelters.