News Briefs
March 26, 2015

News Briefs: Rutland Region

By Lani Duke

Spring is just around the corner in area community gardens

CLARENDON—Clarendon Congregational Church at 279 Middle Road has begun to plan its community garden’s 2015 planting season, which will begin May 23. Registration/liability release forms are due May 7. Although plots are free, the church asks registrants for a $25 deposit with their registration form; refunds come at the end of the growing season when plots are cleaned off. Plots are 10×10 and 20×20. Plot holders are responsible for marking pathways, planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, and cleaning up. For more information, call Bill Kingsley, 773-3873.

RUTLAND—Rutland Recreation & Parks announces the availability of garden plots in its three community gardens. The northeast garden is behind McDonald’s on Woodstock Avenue; the southeast garden is on Allen Street across from the Rutland Regional Medical Center main parking area; and the northwest garden is on Baxter Street (reserved for northwest neighborhood residents).  To sign up for a plot at one of these locations, visit the Godnick facility at 1 Deer Street and talk to Lori Hickey, Godnick Adult Center executive director, or call 773-1853. There is a small rental charge as well as a clean-up deposit, which will be returned at the end of the growing season.

The Vermont Farmers Food Center on West Street offers 10 raised beds, fitted with hoops for plastic covering so gardening can start early in the season. The University of Vermont Master Gardeners group is also involved in this project. VFFC president Greg Cox is the contact person at 683-4606.

Dog park project seeks volunteers

The Rutland Recreation and Parks Department is again working toward developing a community dog park, an idea that’s been in the city’s plans for a number of years. Department superintendent Cindi Wight hopes to gather community support to make it a reality and is looking for individuals to do the kind of committee work necessary to bring the project to fruition. Committee leaders are Suzanne Ellis-Leonard and Bruce Jones.

At least two parcels may eventually become dog parks, both in the northwest corner of the city. One would be at Pierpont Avenue alongside the Creek Path; the other, a five-acre, fenced-off section of Pine Hill Park between the Lower Giorgetti and Middle Giorgetti trails. Wight anticipates opening the first park by June 30.

Changing governmental bodies

RUTLAND TOWN—Rutland Town’s five-person Select Board has a new member. Paul Clifford had run unopposed for an open seat. Joseph Dicton, Jr. has accepted the chairmanship, receiving unanimous support from the Board on March 10. They and fellow board members Don Chioffi, Mary Ashcroft and John Paul Faignant have a lot to look forward to: building a town garage, planning a new direct-current (DC) power line, and considering a gas pipeline through the town.

RUTLAND CITY—In Rutland City, the Board of Aldermen has a new president, William Notte, elected at the March 9 meeting. He succeeds David Allaire who had served the board as president for an unprecedented nine years. The new aldermanic board is one of the youngest in Vermont, with four members under age 40. Elected to the board were Matt Bloomer, Chris Ettori, Tom DePoy, Melinda Humphrey, Ed Larson and Jon Skates, joining Sharon Davis, Gary Donahue, and Chris Siliski. All are two-year terms, with Allaire, Davis, Donahue, Notte, and Siliski facing the choice of whether to run again at the 2016 town meeting.

State vs. local development control

The state Public Service Board has seemingly decided to override local government concerns with approval of a 10,000-panel solar project in Rutland Town. Both neighbors and the town Select Board oppose the 2.3-megawatt GroSolar project on Cold River Road.

In its decision to issue a certificate of public good for the development, the PSB referred to the town’s municipal plan, favoring development along Cold River Road and claiming the town’s 2013 solar siting standards are too constraining.

According to GroSolar’s executive vice president, Steve Remen, the solar array is less damaging to its planned site than would be an industrial building because a solar array can be easily removed. In the meantime, the town would benefit from $10,000 per year for 25 years, coming in the form of taxes as well as an additional $9,000 annual boost to the state education fund.

However, there seem to be principles at stake. A state agency has once again overridden local government, according to Rutland Town selectman Don Chioffi. He labels the decision as “very disappointing” and negatively impacting his community’s scenic qualities.

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