Selectboard Approves Water Front Park
I am writing this to help friends and neighbors learn more about the plans for the “Park” on Water Street.
We all wonder why the process has taken so long to materialize. And the process is still happening. The latest report is that the physical improvements for the site will be complete in June 1917.
Why has it taken so long?
First, the buyouts of the properties were determined by FEMA, big government agency. Michele Braun, FEMA coordinator for the town, had her hands full applying for grants from several (again government) agencies. Her goal was for $350.000 in combined grants which was obtained over the past several months.
Attached to these grants were numerous conditions. The property had to fall under Flood Plain Mitigation. In other words, there had to be a plan in place so that, if the water level should rise again in flood proportion, the entire Water Street area and beyond would be less likely to have the damage experienced by Irene, 5 years ago. In short, it will be necessary to lower the ground adjacent to the river 2 feet below what it is now. This will allow water to flow into the lowered land and hopefully be contained. Because this will be a flood plain, there cannot be anything placed there which would interfere with the flow of water.
The site will be divided into 2 parcels. The land neared Water Street will remain at the same ground level. Because of the past flooding regulations state that no “permanent” structure can be placed on the land. If the parcel could be divided into two sections, each would be about 2 ½ acres. * The land closest to Water Street will be grassed over and mowed, left mostly open and designated as a play area. There will be a Pavilion with electricity which can be used for a shaded area for sitting, picnicking, weddings, a concert, etc. There will be handicapped walking paths. To the left of the pavilion will be a children’s play area.
The topical construction of the lower area nearest the river will be cleared of selected trees, dirt, and waste material. The knot weed along the river will be removed and disposed of properly as this invasive weed will regrow wherever it is dumped.