News Briefs

Rutland Region News Briefs

Slowing West Rutland traffic

WEST RUTLAND—The Town of West Rutland is gathering speed data at two high-accident zones with the intent of reducing speed limits: at the area around Westway Plaza and where Clarendon Avenue intersects with Main Street. Rutland County Sheriff Stephen Benard included the study in the renewal of his office’s $80,000 contract with the town.

A lot of accidents seem to be a result of excessive speed and uncertainty about legal speed, Town Manager Mary Anne Goulette told the Rutland Herald. In addition to gathering speed data, the town will apply for grants to consider installing a roundabout at both locations, using the speed data to support that application.

Sheriff Benard indicated the study would include mapping the road to include turns, intersections, driveways, and lines of sight as well as radar. The Agency of Transportation weighs speed data against crash data, he said, noting that those areas experience increasing traffic, especially with traffic entering and exiting the Stewart’s parking lot.

Center Street Alley renovation one step closer

Center Street Marketplace came one step closer to realization with the opening of construction bids June 9. All were within the budget guidelines; choosing which to accept comes after review by the Vermont Agency of Transportation and engineering firm Stantec. Parker Excavation of New Haven, Vt., bid $836,140; Belden Company of Rutland, $873,700; and Naylor and Breen Builders of Brandon, $887,370. Each bid included additional pricing for five optional features, including colored concrete, gates, fencing, and lighting, according to The Rutland Herald. Parker is currently the contractor for the Gateway Improvement Project along Strongs Avenue.

Over the years, the city has sought to make the open area something more than a cross-block shortcut and delivery zone for the variety of commercial enterprises whose rear walls form its boundaries. The dream for the Center Street Marketplace is to become a venue for art and music, plus encourage business development along those formerly underutilized building backsides.

Asked for a $150,000 contribution in April, the Board of Aldermen supplied $200,000 from the Zamias Fund, a monetary pool of impact fees created with the building of Diamond Run Mall and intended to help replace money the mall businesses divert from downtown. The community has held a federal agrant for $974,000 since 2010, but some has been spent for engineering and other project precursors. The Rutland Redevelopment Authority has promised $100,000 and the Rutland Rotary Club donated $25,000.

Strongs Avenue Gateway improvement project highly visible

A dilapidated building on the west side of Strongs Avenue is showing an improved face to the public as the result of a civic initiative and repairs by the Vermont Rail System. The company not only repaired the building’s siding but also purchased paint and supplies for volunteers to use, Rutland Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Brennan Duffy announced in a guest column in The Rutland Herald.

Student volunteers enrolled at Stafford Technical Center scraped and pressure-washed the siding with support from the Rutland Recreation and Parks Department in the form of a water truck and pump. More than a dozen youth and three instructors helped in the scraping. Project Vision volunteers performed the actual painting the morning of June 11, led by Project Vision chair Joe Kraus at 7 a.m. Other Project Vision-affiliated participants included Julie Easton of Danby, Melissa Shanholtzer and Bobby Van Guilder of MerMonkey Tattoo, Matthew Christian of the Probation and Parole Rutland work crew program, and Paul Gallo of Magic Brush Painting.

This effort begins the transformation of Strongs Avenue as a gateway into downtown Rutland, promised in the April 20 Vermont Business Magazine. Parker Excavation of New Haven, Vt., is scheduled to begin building four enhanced pedestrian crossings with “bulb-out” features that slow traffic and ensure greater pedestrian safety. Other improvements are new designated parking and sidewalks on the western side of Strongs, and a green strip for trees and other plantings to screen and buffer existing buildings.

Collaborating in the project’s funding are the Rutland Public Works department, a Vt. Agency of Commerce and Community Development Downtown Transportation Fund grant, a Rutland Blooms donation, and Rutland Redevelopment Authority.

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