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By Lisa Loomis
Waitsfield voters will be asked to OK spending up to $65,000 to close out the final bills for the town's newly built sidewalk system and to fund the town's portion of two new sections of sidewalk.
The vote takes place on Tuesday, August 26, at Waitsfield Elementary School at 6:30 p.m. The vote will be a floor vote and voters must attend the meeting to cast a ballot.
The town's large sidewalk project, which was completed last year, had 90 percent state and federal funding with a 10 percent local match. The project was originally estimated at $1.2 million but ran into cost overruns that depleted the $150,000 in the town's Sidewalk Reserve Fund and left the town still owing $37,666 to close out the project.
That sidewalk runs on the east side of Route 100 from Waitsfield Elementary School south to the southern entrance of Village Square Shopping Center. Then it continues on the west side of Route 100 almost to Bragg Hill.
The town has received a Safe Routes to School grant for two other sidewalk projects, one of which has a local share and one which doesn't. This week a contractor was selected for the first of those two projects which will realign the intersection of Route 100 and Old County Road and create a sidewalk on the west side of Route 100 from that intersection to Valley Players Theater.
Part of that work involves putting utilities underground and that expense, $13,800, is not grant eligible. To re-align that intersection means moving utilities underground at Mad River Valley Heath Center to protect their trees.
The second phase of the Village West sidewalk will construct a sidewalk from Valley Players to the intersection of Bridge Street and Route 100. That project has a 10 percent local share. Originally the town anticipated paying for that local share from its Sidewalk Reserve Fund; however, it is currently depleted thanks to the big sidewalk project so a portion of that local share is being sought at the August 26 vote.
Voters will be asked to authorize the town to borrow up to $65,000 with $37,666 earmarked for the big sidewalk, $13,800 for the Village West sidewalk phase one and the balance earmarked for the local share of the Village West sidewalk phase two.