There are few times in our lives when we have the opportunity to have the impact that we, Killington voters, have this March on Town Meeting Day. The last time someone or something had an impact this great on Killington, Pres Smith was hiking to the base of Killington mountain to start planning for a Ski Area in 1955.
Not long after Killington Resort opened in the 1950s, the founders recognized the need for a ski village at the base of the resort. Since the early 1970s, when my parents moved our family to Killington, there has been talk of and desire to build a ski village. For too many reasons to mention, it’s always eluded our town and Killington Resort.
I remember, in the late ’80s writing an essay in college, about Parker’s Gore and the bear habitat that stalled development in that area. That led to the big land swap in the ’90s that finally opened the door for the Village on land that was previously the state-leased land at the base of Killington.
It’s now about 25 years later and Killington is closer than it’s ever been to the 50-year dream of a ski village.
The next piece to the puzzle is public infrastructure — the roads and water.
It also should not go unmentioned that Killington Resort was made possible with public investment from the state for the construction of the access road and the first ski lodge; the next era of Killington’s history again requires public investment. The state Legislature recognized the economic benefit back then and they do again now with the creation and approval of more TIF districts in the state.
TIF is the modern financing mechanism for public infrastructure to support private development. Quite plainly said, this project will not happen without the public/private partnership that is created with the TIF just like the partnership that was needed in 1957 for Killington to open.
And it’s not just the ski village that needs clean water and a better Killington Road. Many businesses are dealing with the fallout from the state lowering the acceptable MCL of PFOAs that have been present at low levels in our water along the Killington Road for years. The lower MCL forced businesses to install, operate and maintain individual expensive water treatment systems that could be replaced by a public water supply.
Additionally, without a public water supply, businesses are not able to provide the water needed for the fire suppression systems required to expand or make major renovations, limiting growth and improvements.
These infrastructure improvements benefit all of us in town by creating opportunities for growth, more jobs and infill development that will increase the tax base.
The Killington Forward Initiative and TIF district is the piece of the puzzle that’s been missing for so long and it’s not a recent concept that only benefits private development.
The Killington Select Board started investigating the TIF district options over 10 years ago. We also conducted a water study at that time to investigate the need and feasibility for a public water system along the Killington Road.
At that time we wanted the research to ensure that the town was ready to partner with the ski village development in building a water system that could benefit all down the road.
There were many barriers along the way and I applaud our current Selectboard, Planning Commission, Killington Resort, SP Land and others for their persistence and working with the state to finally get us to The Vote on the TIF District at Town Meeting.
I encourage you to visit the Town’s website, do your research, and then join me on Town Meeting Day and vote in support of the creation of the TIF District. Never again will your vote have the potential impact on a town than it does this March.