By Brett Yates
Barstow Memorial School wants to upgrade its outdoor facilities by building a trio of pickleball courts, alongside a new shaded area with picnic tables. But it may need help to pay for the project.
Excavators removed a deteriorating multi-use court from Barstow’s grounds last summer. If the plan for replacement and expansion comes to frui- tion, one of the three new pickleball courts, according to Principal David St. Germain, will also be usable for tennis and basketball.
In order to help pay for construction, the school has solicited voluntary contributions from the towns of Chittenden and Mendon. They received requests for $50,000 apiece, which would come out of federal Covid-19 recov- ery funds. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 distributed $353,032 and $302,214 to Chittenden and Mendon, respectively, in total.
But the towns aren’t sure they want to cough up that much cash.
At the Nov. 21 meeting of the Chittenden Select Board, Selectwoman Julie Fredette recounted a conversation with St. Germain. “I said, ‘$50,000 is not going to happen.’ We talked about $25,000, and people want to know more, and there’s consideration, but it’s still a hefty fee, and you might need to have a sales pitch or something,” Fredette said.
“At this point, I’m not in a rush to do anything,” Selectman Andrew Quint added.
Mendon, similarly, has not yet made a commitment to funding.
“We haven’t evaluated yet whether that request will be funded or at what level,” Town Administrator Sara Tully said. “The select board hasn’t made any decision on the level of funding for various ARPA projects. We’re still in the data collection phase.”
At press time, St. Germain said he couldn’t yet comment on how Barstow plans to fund the project if the towns don’t chip in.