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Town of Shaftsbury, VT
PO Box 409
61 Buck Hill Road
Shaftsbury, Vermont 05262

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Phone: (802) 442-4038
Fax: (802) 442-0955
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Shaftsbury Select Board Moves Ahead on Community Center Projects

Posted: March 29, 2024

SHAFTSBURY - The Select Board at a special meeting on Thursday voted 3-0 to rededicate the ARPA Reserve Fund as the Community Center Development Fund.

"This is just to target the funds," said Interim Town Manager David Kiernan. "There's been a major change in the SLFR (State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds) regulations on the expenditure of these funds. They have to be fully obligated, which means contracted, by the end of the year now."

The town is looking to finish upgrades on the first floor of Cole Hall, as well as add community-oriented amenities and spaces on adjacent property it has acquired in recent months. This month, the town purchased a house and .86-acre lot behind Cole Hall for $190,000. Kiernan said with this purchase the town now has $686,000 left. This "sounds like a lot, but I assure you, it's not," he said.

With the new rules, he stressed the need to get the planned work contracted before the end of this year.

The town has enough funds to go ahead with site work, creating a park setting with a pavilion, work on Cole Hall, and parking improvements. Current funds indicate that plans for a community center will have to be scaled back, he said.

"We'll probably really need to reconsider the size of that community center, which is bigger than this building... I didn't realize we were looking that big," Kiernan said. "So, splitting that in half. Right now, that would be about $900,000 at $400 a square foot."

On the Select Board's agenda for its Monday meeting is to officially form the Community Center Development Committee to work on the project. Kiernan said it will need members beyond himself and the incoming administrator, Paula Iken.

The new committee will need to meet with the architects and engineers involved with the planning. It will also need to set up a fundraising subcommittee.

"There's a lot of bells and whistles that we talked about in the community center that will just have to go," Kiernan said. "Or empty space left for an addition. Like, there's talk about a commercial kitchen, which is extremely expensive …. And it's not going to come in here at this juncture."

The committee will take up locating the community center in whatever size "and have the rest of the plans done up so that we can move forward with them, get price, get contracts out and get the contracts with this building," he said.

"It was always in the back of my mind that the community center would be mostly a fundraising thing," he added.

Compliments of: The Bennington Banner
Posted/Author: Mark Rondeau

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