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Nearly $6M awarded to Killington for water quality

The town of Killington recently received official word of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and grant subsidy designated for clean water and drinking water infrastructure.

The Agency of Natural Resources reviewed applications from around the state and responded with an allocation commitment of a $2.3 million ARPA grant and a $3.6 million fully forgivable loan for emerging contaminants. Killington’s contaminated wells made it a priority project for this round of funding with potential for further allocations expected in future years.

As of March 2022, Killington was one of nine communities with sites where the sum of five monitored PFAS exceeded 20 nanograms per liter in drinking water, along with other towns including Dover, Craftsbury, Fayston, Leicester, Milton, Morgan, Mt. Holly, and Thetford.

Eric Blatt, director of engineering from the Dept. of Environmental Conservation at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources said, “The Agency of Natural Resources is supportive of construction of the new water system in Killington and has allocated grant and loan funds for the project on this year’s adopted priority list.”

This funding represents a portion of what will be needed in the first phase of the Killington Forward project presented earlier this year. The project overall includes infrastructure improvements to water and roads to resolve contamination, improve water access, mitigate unsafe road conditions, and enhance transportation capacity and accessibility. The installation of a new water system will help to provide for a clean water source and address the contamination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that exist along Killington Road. A health concern first and foremost, the new public community water system is also essential to the retention and future development of business and housing along the commercial corridor.

The multi-year Phase 1 of the project will include laying pipeline for clean water originating on Route 4, bringing water up the mountain, pumped into storage tanks, brought through the anticipated village area, and downhill to Ravine Road. Road reconstruction will include improvements at the top of Killington Road beginning at the Resort property line, up to and including a new roundabout, and circulatory roads.

Phase 1 will also include the reconstruction of Killington Road from Route 4 to Anthony Way. As for future phases of water, Wayne Elliott, president and senior engineer at Aldrich & Elliot Water Resource Engineers said properties will have the ability to connect down Killington Road, but “the priority is to connect the existing water systems which have water quality issues and have assumed [capacity for] abutting properties along Killington Road and Route 4.”

Phase 1 of the water project will be partially funded through the ARPA grant and fully forgivable loan, but largely funded through Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which was announced in June 2022. The full financial framework will come before the voters, tentatively projected for Town Meeting Day in March 2023. TIF projects are designed to ensure municipalities do not burden residents with additional taxes, but instead, rely upon the tax income from future development to repay infrastructure debt.

Once a public-private development agreement is finalized, the town will file its first phase filing with VEPC. Upon approval, the Select Board will have the opportunity to place a bond vote on the ballot. And it is expected to do so. Construction bidding and breaking ground on Phase 1 will trigger the actual ARPA grant, which could be as early as next spring.

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