Board Discusses Planning and Funding for Trailhead
by Gazette Staff
GREENSBORO – At its March 15 regular meeting, the Greensboro Select Board’s discussion topics included the library, the trailhead in the Bend, and the board’s reorganization following Town Meeting Day.
The first topic for discuss was the Greensboro Free Library. Board member Beth Meacham told the board that the library is pursuing grants from the Vermont Dept. of Libraries (DoL) and the Vermont Arts Council. The DoL grant must be submitted as a municipal grant. Beth added that the library received a small grant from the Preservation Trust for a building assessment. The board voted to approve executing the necessary documents to apply for the DoL grant.
The next topic was the Bend Revitalization Initiative (BRI). BRI president Dan Predpall reported that he and board chair Peter Romans have been looking into a VTrans trailhead grant and proposed that the town not accept the grant. It appears it would take 12-15 months for construction to begin under grant terms, delaying the project until 2024. A Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA) study estimated considerable use of the trailhead, especially on summer weekends, and there is a concern that without a parking area trail users will park along Main Street and cause inconvenience to Bend residents and traffic safety issues. Instead of hiring a contractor with grant funds to construct the parking area in 2024, the road crew could do the installation this coming summer.
During the subsequent discussion of how to pay for the project without grant funds, Predpall said that $20,000 has been raised locally, earmarked as matching funds for the VTrans grant. These funds were solicited to build a trailhead, not just a parking lot, so much of those funds should be used for landscaping and amenities such as picnic tables, a bike rack and a bike maintenance station. Romans suggested that $15,000 in ARPA funds could be approved for the project. Town funds originally earmarked for a grant match are also available: $5,000 each year for FY24 and FY25.
Predpall said a lease with VTrans would still be required to develop the trailhead, and that he and Romans will be meeting with VTrans next week about the lease. Due to its more complex nature, a lease for the Bend Depot will likely not be negotiated as part of the initial trailhead lease. One project in the original VTrans grant that won’t be completed by the town, at least initially, is the installation of traffic calming structures on both sides of the road adjacent to the trailhead. The board agreed to not accept the Vtrans grant. No decision was made about using ARPA funds for the trailhead.
Predpall noted that considerable town office staff time will be saved by not having to administer the grant. Predpall also told the board that the BRI is part of a grant that Rural Edge is applying for. The grant would provide funds to Greensboro Bend residents to improve their homes.
Finally, Predpall said that VTrans has created several councils so towns along the Rail Trail can have a voice on Rail Trail issues. NVDA is hosting the NEK council, and asked Greensboro to appoint a council representative. The board voted to appoint Predpall to the NEK Rail Trail Council.
The next agenda item was the reorganization of the select board following Town Meeting Day. Peter Romans remains the select board chair and Eric Hanson will serve as vice chair.
The board approved the following committee liaisons: Farmers Market: Kim Greaves, Highway Department Primary: Peter Romans, Secondary: Ellen Celnik, Historical Society: David Kelley, Driveway Plowing Primary: Peter Romans, Secondary: Eric Hanson, Fire Districts: Eric Hanson, Greensboro Fire Dept.: David Kelley, Legal: David Kelley, Orleans Southwest Elementary School District: Gary Circosta, Recycling: Ellen Celnik, Library: Ellen Celnik, Greensboro Association: Eric Hanson.
The board unanimously approved The Hardwick Gazette and The News and Citizen to be the town’s newspapers of record. The board also agreed that regular select board meetings will continue to be held on the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. Meetings will be held remotely until further notice. Romans noted that the state will likely require boards to return to in-person meetings in the near future.
The board also voted to make the following appointments: Road Foreman: Thomas Camarra, Zoning Administrator: Brett Stanciu, Fire Chief: Dave Brochu Jr., Constable: Mark Snyder, Conservation Commission (four-year terms by statute): Linda Shatney, David Kelley, Jane Hoffman, Clive Gray, Chris Steel. (Other members: Erika Karp (Chair, 2026), Arlene Averill (2026), Peter Watkinson (2026), William Marlier (2026), Tree Warden: Cilla Bonney-Smith, Animal Control Officer: Kevin Rich, Civil Defense: OPEN, Recreation Committee: Erika Karp, Devin Burgess, David Kelley, MacNeil, Carolyn Kehler, Ellen Celnik, Development Review Board (three-year terms by statute): Jane Woodruff, chair (Other members: Nat Smith (2024), MacNeil (2024), Tim Brennan (2026), Wayne Young (2025), BJ Gray (2025), Mike Metcalf (2025), Lise Armstrong (first alternate), Joanne Lacasse (second alternate), Brett Stanciu (ex-officio), Planning Commission (three-year terms by statute): Alexis Mattos. Other members: Christine Armstrong (2025), MacNeil (2025), Kent Hansen (2025), Kelli Story (2025), Brett Stanciu (ex-officio), Town Service Officer: Kim Greaves, Caspian Lake Beach Committee.: Ila Hunt (Chair), Linda Shatney, John Schweizer (Treasurer), Emergency Planning Comm.: Anne Stevens (Chair), Wayne Young, Tim Nisbet, Eric Pilbin, Michael Lapierre, Emergency Management. Chair: Dave Brochu Jr., Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District Representative.: Ken Johnston, Alternate: OPEN, Hazard Mitigation Committee: Valdine Hall, Kim Greaves, Lorelei Wheeler, Melissa Moffatt, George Young, Tim Nisbet, Energy Committee: Anna Kehler, Mark Snyder, NVDA Rep.: Mike Metcalf, Grand Juror: David B. Smith,
Library Trustee: the board unanimously appointed Shelly Jungwirth as library trustee, taking the place of a trustee who recently resigned.
In a letter to the board, Peter and Sandra Gebbie are concerned that the town’s driveway plowing service is going downhill in quality. They suggested that Perry’s alternate the plowing order from storm to storm, as was done in the past, so those in the far ends of town aren’t always waiting the longest to have their drives cleared. Board vice chair Eric Hanson asked whether Perry’s always plows the village areas first. Romans said that he was not sure and will talk to Perry’s about this. He added that whatever system they have is working for residents most of the time, since there are few complaints.
Jo-Ann Brochu, on behalf of Hill Farmstead Brewery owner Shaun Hill, expressed concern about road conditions over the past few weeks. She said the town made a commitment to the brewery that roads would be well maintained, for both truck and customer traffic. During a recent snowstorm, the brewery’s own truck, as well as customer cars, got stuck in drifts. Shaun submitted to the town the $1,200 towing bill he received after the brewery’s truck was pulled out. Board chair Romans said that the town is committed to maintaining all roads but that the storm in question, a Nor’easter, was exceptional, with poor road conditions over much of New England. Brochu said they made several calls to the road crew about poor conditions, but calls were not returned, and she felt better communication would be appreciated. Romans said that cell coverage is poor around town and the crew is indeed hard to communicate with when out on the road. Replying to Brochu’s assertion that there weren’t any trucks out that day, Romans said that the crew was certainly out plowing all day, and that such exaggeration is not helpful. He noted that, during a big storm, it takes hours for the road crew to complete its routes.
Romans asked whether the brewery’s truck driver chained up before going out; Brochu replied that they did not. Romans said that milk trucks would never attempt to go out without chains in such conditions. He said that, especially during big storms, everyone has to take responsibility for safe travel, it’s not just about the road crew. Out-of-staters, for instance, who commonly run all-season tires and are inexperienced driving in snowy conditions are likely to have trouble during snowstorms, and that is not the town’s responsibility.