The proposed 2014 state budget includes $5 million for replacing
jointed rail with continuously welded rail, rebuilding highway
crossings, and replacing switches between Rutland and Burlington.
The continuously welded rail allows trains to travel faster,
enabling passenger trains to traverse the distance between the two
cities as rapidly as a car can travel Route 7.
ON THE BALLOT
Rutland voters face a useless question on the ballot, the one
asking whether they want to allow the use of chloramine to
disinfect the city's water supply. There is no bond attached to it.
Regardless of which way the votes fall, their result is moot. If
necessary, the city will use the chloramine because it has to,
according to federal regulations. When voters turned down the bond
issue for a new filter system, they brought on the use of
chloramine, if necessary.
Pay attention to the ticking clock if you park downtown. Downtown
parking regulations won't get stricter, they'll just be enforced.
At the request of the Downtown Rutland Partnership, the Public
Safety Committee is discussing asking for more active law
enforcement. "Feeding the meter" by throwing in more change while
occupying a downtown parking space for more than two hours has been
illegal, but most downtown workers probably don't know that.
People who fill a downtown on-street parking space all day long
block others from shopping downtown. That can, over time, dry up
sales at first-floor merchants and restaurants, and eventually
drive business from downtown. Those who work downtown all day long
need to search out designated long-term spaces.
Almost any TV watcher has seen law enforcement officials turning to
surveillance cameras to solve crimes; Rutland's police may be able
to do so too. Aldermen have been considering the installation of
cameras to monitor some of the neighborhoods that have had the
highest crime. Local landlord Cam Johnston supports the idea; a
home invasion occurred recently on one of his properties, near the
corner of Maple and Pine.
Security cameras around businesses and government buildings are
not new to Rutland. Police Chief James Baker notes that
surveillance has cut down crime in public places but that putting
them in residential areas is trickier. Whether to bring
eye-in-the-sky technology to residential Rutland should make for an
The city plans to make the Center Street Alley more level this
summer, discarding the terraced design that had limited use of the
area, administered by the Rutland Recreation & Parks
department. What may slow down the $703,884 project is resolution
of rights of way.
Over time, it may yet fulfill the dream of Rutland's Creative
Economy, becoming a public marketplace, outlined with cafes and
little shops as buildings open up what had been their back sides
onto an outdoor recreational and performance space. The alley is
also scheduled to receive one of the 17 bike racks that the Agency
of Transportation is placing in Rutland County.
According to that agency, Routes 4 and 7 will receive $4.4
million for reworking. There have been concerns expressed that
railroad crossing issues may tangle up the agency's timetable.
Further ahead lies replacing the Dorr Drive bridge over Otter
Creek. Although $400,156 of it is funded for fiscal year '14 and
$300,000 the following year, the biggest chunk of the effort will
be in FY 2016.
The former Friar's Tavern, 56 Strongs Ave., is scheduled for a
facelift, using about one-third of funds the Downtown Rutland
Partnership received from Green Mountain Power when GMP merged with
Central Vermont Public Service Corp. Building owner Joseph Giancola
hopes the exterior improvement - new paint, new windows, a new
front door, and repairs to the storefront cornice -and other
changes he plans to make will help attract a new tenant for the
vacant property, once a grocery store.
Other façade facelift grants downtown have enhanced Ted's Pizza
on State Street, Bloomfo Website Design on Cottage Street, and the
Yet another solar energy project is in the works for the area.
HelioSage has filed papers with the Public Service Board to build
an 800-kilowatt solar farm that would provide power for 111 homes,
with hopes to complete the project this year. It would occupy 5.1
acres of a 12-acre parcel owned by G. Housen & Co. off Seward
Road. Approximately 1 acre is rooftop; about 2.5 acres require
clearing, but the land is pre-disturbed with most of the vegetation
in non-native species. Cost is estimated at $3 million.
Installed will be a series of 10-foot-high panels, mounted at
least four feet above the ground, surrounded by a 6-foot-high
fence. Revegetation will be in native plant species compatible with
the surrounding area.
Improvements scheduled for the Rutland airport won't be obvious to
the casual observer; creation of more flat land around the runway
doesn't seem like construction to most people. But the Agency of
Transportation is putting $5.36 million in expanding the runway
safety area. If a plane lands long or short, the level ground
offers a safe area for the plane to stop without running into
Although these improvements bring the airport in North Clarendon
closer to Federal Aviation Administration design standards, they
still don't come up to the ideal. Currently, planes landing have a
safety area of about 300 feet; that will grow to 600 feet with the
improvements, but the ideal would be even larger, at 1,000
Work may start in July, but is waiting for a U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers permit, allowing filling in 2.67 acres of wetlands.
Although public comments may still be entered through Feb. 28, a
spokesman for the Corps said approval is expected because there is
no flood hazard.
Other construction at the airport includes a jet hangar retrofit
($400,000), terminal area layout work ($200,000), a parallel
taxiway ($100,000), and a study of Runway 19's north end ($25,000).
More safety improvements will take place in the following fiscal
Friday, Feb. 15 - Chaffee Art Center holds an opening reception
with hors d'oeuvres and wine for its annual Full House exhibit, at
the Downtown Chaffee, 75 Merchants Row. Featured artists are Brian
Sylvester, Johanne Durocher Yordan, Richard Weis, and Katherine
Langlands. Hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Call 775-0356 for specifics.
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16 - Rutland County Women's Network
benefits from the two nights of The Full Monty - Musical at the
Paramount Theatre. Saskia Hagen Groom directs the production. Call
775-0903 for tickets.
Sunday, Feb. 17 - Wallingford Elementary School gymnasium hosts a
series of yoga workshops and classes with eight different yoga
instructors from 12-noon to 2 p.m.