08.13.15

Leahy, State And Local Officials Mark Recovery Milestone In Waitsfield

New Town Office Goes To Construction Utilizing Federal Post-Irene Funds

WAITSFIELD, Vt. (THURSDAY, Aug. 13, 2015) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday joined officials from the state of Vermont and the Waitsfield community to celebrate construction progress on Waitsfield’s new town office.  The event marked a major milestone for the Waitsfield community, which recently broke ground on a new site to replace the town office building flooded by Tropical Storm Irene.  A Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development largely supported the project, administered in Vermont by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. 

Leahy said: “While the memories of the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm Irene are still fresh even four years later, I know that the way our communities pulled together to support each other and rebuild is what will be the enduring spirit of the storm.  Waitsfield’s new town offices play a critical part in making this iconic Mad River Valley community even more resilient and vibrant than before.  I am proud to have helped secure federal funds for Vermont to build back stronger, and I am pleased to see them being put to good use on this project.”

The town’s offices are currently housed on the lower floor of the Joslin Memorial Library and have been repeatedly flooded. Waitsfield will use $873,200 in CDBG Disaster Recovery funds along with municipal funding and other sources totaling approximately $1.6 million for the new town office building. The site is on Main Street, approximately 280 yards north of the existing location in historic Waitsfield Village.  The location is above the 100 and 500 year floodplain and is across the street from the Mad River Valley Ambulance building, which is also a designated emergency operations center.

In a statement, Governor Peter Shumlin said, “Waitsfield is to be congratulated for making its community safer and stronger. Because it is designed as a net zero building and moves the town office out of the floodplain, the project is a significant step towards both preparing for and addressing climate change.” He added, “As we’ve recently seen in Barre and Plainfield, floodwaters return. The state is committed to helping communities become more resilient and is grateful for Senator Leahy’s support in securing federal funding to help make it happen.”  

“The new Town Office is one of many substantial investments in community infrastructure under way that will benefit Waitsfield citizens now and for future generations,” acknowledged Town Administrator Valerie Capels. “On behalf of the Waitsfield Selectboard, I want to express our appreciation for all of the state and federal support the community has received.   This support has been crucial toward our recovery from Tropical Storm Irene and to make these infrastructure investments without placing an undue burden on local property taxes.”

 

The CDBG Disaster Recovery Grants are part of $40 million in funding Vermont received as a result of a provision championed by Senator Leahy in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.  The funds have helped towns across the state rebuild and become more resilient in the wake of future events.

 

Waitsfield’s town office project is one of several made possible by the CDBG Disaster Recovery funding.  Additionally, five local businesses received a total of $156,500 in grants to help them recover from damage and lost revenue. The town is also one of eight Vermont municipalities to receive assistance from the Vermont Downtown Action Team to develop economic revitalization plans after their community cores were devastated by the 2011 floods. It will also use a $179,976 grant to develop a public park along the Mad River, one of the recommendations in its plan.  This park will create a riverfront gathering space near the town’s unique covered bridge and river vista adjacent to the historic business district.


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