Rockingham Selectboard approves new Town Hall storefront proposal

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – On Tuesday, Feb. 4, the town of Rockingham Selectboard proceeded with the Depot Street Bridge agreement, a new tenant lease for the store front of the Town Hall, and the regional broadband initiative.

Public Works Director Everett Hammond explained the agreement for the Depot Street Bridge needed to be notarized and that the design process had started. Chairman Peter Golec reviewed the bridge agreement and noted that the town would pay to relocate utilities. He said, “I thought sewer and water was supposed to be included in the contract.”

Both Golec and Susan Hammond understood this to be included with the bridge in place, and if the town had chosen the off-alignment bridge, those expenses would have been added. Hammond said he would check on it, but that it might cost the village to move the utilities and they would be given notice well in advanced.

Municipal Manager Wendy Harrison mentioned that the town will pay a 5% contribution versus the standard 10% because the town will be providing the detour over Bridge Street.

Susan Hammond made a motion to approve the agreement and the motion passed unanimously.

Developent Director Gary Fox introduced a proposal to lease the storefront of Town Hall. Yobhel Brosseau of Basin Farm requested to lease the storefront temporarily used by Main Street Arts for their upcoming “Cabaret” in March. Brosseau explained Basin Farm’s interest in opening a store featuring their local products Common Sense and Green Mountain soap and natural body products. Brosseau also mentioned displays and woodworks built by their business Commonwealth Construction and Milling of North Walpole that would add to the fixtures.

Currently, these products are only available online, but the farm desires a presence downtown. Brosseau hopes to also feature seasonal produce and other locally made items, “things that would go along with our store.”

The lease proposal was good for one year, but Gaetano Putignano recommended a longer lease agreement of three years. The applicant said they would consider a three-year agreement. Putignano made a motion to approve the lease with Basin Farm for a two-year term with the option to renew. The motion was unanimously passed.

The Windham Regional Planning Commission received a grant for a regional broadband initiative and the state has provided a legal structure for community involvement.

Harrison told the Selectboard, “People are making decisions on where to buy property based on the broadband capacity.”

Stefan Golec mentioned a discussion he had heard on Vermont Public Radio about the expense of broadband and Putignano said, “They are making it much more efficient.”

The Selectboard recommended Bonnie North to represent the town of Rockingham in the Windham Regional broadband project.

Putignano mentioned he had received comments about the lack of space in the upstairs meeting room and that viewers can’t see everyone from the camera angle. He explained, “At the last Joint Board meeting, there were not enough seats for everyone.” He wondered about the status of the elevator and said, “We need to fix it.”

Peter Golec wondered if they should look at a new elevator and mentioned they received a grant last time. Harrison agreed to investigate other elevator service contractors. The next Selectboard meeting is Feb. 18.

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