Depot Street Bridge set to open this week

CAVENDISH, Vt. – The Cavendish Selectboard held their July 13 meeting via Zoom, announcing the opening of the Depot Street Bridge later this week, the suspension of Cavendish Recreation Dept. activities, and a speed reduction for Tierney Road.

The Depot Street Bridge, which has been closed for repairs since 2015, may be ready to open as soon as Thursday, July 16 according to Cavendish Town Manager Brendan McNamara. In a follow up phone call, McNamara confirmed there will not be an official opening ceremony at this time due to health safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, but McNamara said the town may organize a formal celebration down the road.

McNamara cited local Monday reports that indicated “a severe spike in cases,” which included 18 positive cases in Londonderry, part of 35 positive cases identified in the Manchester area. McNamara also spoke of a report from Chester that a young girl had tested positive for coronavirus after visiting the Chester town pool July 9, as well as reports that a baseball tournament in Chester over the weekend had drawn criticism for lack of masks and social distancing.

According McNamara, Cavendish Recreation Dept. Director Terry O’Brien has suspended their Monday night pick up baseball and softball games indefinitely due to concerns over the recent coronavirus news.

The scheduled Cavendish Summer Concert Series, which will have its first concert Wednesday evening on the Proctorsville Green, is moving forward as scheduled. In communications with McNamara after Monday’s meeting, concert organizers and town officials will be closely monitoring the concert and audience members’ adherence to social distancing guidelines and face mask usage to determine whether the concerts will be deemed safe to continue.

The Selectboard approved a speed limit reduction on Tierney Road to 25 mph. A Cavendish town ordinance allows for the board to make speed limit changes on town roads, and the approval follows a speed study done last year after a petition to lower the speed limit by several residents was submitted to the town.

The Selectboard voiced their approval for the formation of a Village Revitalization Committee to begin spearheading revitalization projects in the Cavendish village, which stretches from an area before the old town garage to the location of the new town garage, with exact streets and location specifications still to be determined.

Board member Stephen Plunkard led the presentation to the board, saying the committee would focus on adaptive reuse and redevelopment of several areas beginning with the old academy building, which sits across from the town office. Plunkard credited the positive outcomes of revitalization efforts in Proctorsville as inspiration for the committee to try and turn the Cavendish village area from a place that you drive through to more of a destination.

The Cavendish VRC will begin by defining the area, identifying private homeowners, commercial interests, and town buildings. The committee will then administer an informal survey to property owners to gauge interest and begin looking for funding opportunities.

A culvert replacement project near the Inn at Glimmerstone Mansion property will require the closure of Route 131, likely from Tuesday, Aug. 11 through Friday, Aug. 14. There will be detours set up at that time. A preconstruction meeting and public meeting regarding the closure of Route 131 will be scheduled. There will be information and a link to the public meeting on the town website when available.

Upcoming events include a composting workshop at Cavendish Town Elementary School Thursday, July 23 at 6:30 p.m. The town-wide yard sale is scheduled for the last weekend of July.

The next Cavendish Selectboard meeting will be Monday, Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. A meeting link will be available on the town’s website.

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