Town Buys House
Posted: January 19, 2024
SHAFTSBURY - The town has signed a contract to purchase a home and property behind Cole Hall, site of the town offices.
Acquiring the property is part of the process of developing a town green and community center.
The owners were asking for the $235,000 but the agreed upon price is $190,000, said Select Board Chair Art Whitman.
The house is located at 43 Buck Hill Road, and according to a listing it is 1,361-square-feet. It sits on a .86-acre lot.
Whitman has signed an agreement with the co-owners of the property, but it stipulates that the sale will not happen until April 15, at which time, the occupants will move out.
The purchase is with ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) money, which the Select Board has discretion to use. "But I also think it’s important that the public know about it and has as an opportunity to weigh in," Whit-man said.
The board will announce the proposed purchase at the next three select board meetings. "And the sale will go through on the 15th if nothing comes up," he said.
"The house in its present condition is not suited for public gatherings so there is much to be discussed about its future – but obviously the first thing to do was to buy it," Whitman wrote in an email Thursday.
In November, the town held a ribbon cutting for 2.2 acres near Cole Hall purchased using ARPA Funds. This is envisioned as a town green.
During the COVID pandemic, Shaftsbury received a $1 million allocation from the federal ARPA funds.
Over the summer, the town’s ARPA Committee asked Shafts-bury residents for ideas and suggestions about how to spend the money.
The results indicated a strong desire for community space and places to gather.
Question 1 of the resident survey read, "Which of the following amenities would you like to see in the Community Center?"
Getting the greatest response were the options "Meeting/ events/fitness space" and "Offerings for seniors and youth."
Question 2 asked, "Which of the following amenities would you like to see on the Town Green?"
Getting the greatest response were the options "Picnic tables and grassy green" and a "Gazebo/ stage for performance."
Based on these results the Economic Development Committee made recommendations to the Select Board: "The EDC recommends seeking funding to create a meeting/ event space in the newly formed Community Center. The recommendation is to provide a large open-concept space that would allow for multiple uses...."
"There was a clear consensus that citizens would like to see programming for seniors and youth. The EDC envisions educational programming, senior brown bag lunches, The Shaftsbury Historical Society presentations, and a reading/ classroom/workshop space in the community center. ..."
"The town does not have a downtown recreation area. The town has purchased 2.2 acres next door to Cole Hall where the town garage once stood. The EDC recommends creating a large green, with trees for shade, picnic benches, a community garden, places to park bikes, benches to sit on and a fire pit/skating rink/splash pad in different seasons. The EDC recommends partnering with the Recreation Committee to create these opportunities and potentially in years to come connect the town green to Howard Park via a walking path."
"In addition to the grassy area in the town green, the EDC would recommend a large gazebo with solar panels that would accommodate community events/concerts outdoors. Many citizens added that they would like to see concerts, a return of our community dances, food trucks, and a holiday outdoor market."
Compliments of: The Bennington Banner
Posted/Author: Mark Rondeau