ROCKINGHAM, Vt. – On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Rockingham Selectboard discussed the updates on the Bellows Falls Train Station. Municipal Manager Scott Pickup gave an overview of the changes. He said the funding stack was complicated because each funding source had it’s own standards that the town must follow.
The town’s purchase and sale agreement of the train station was closer to completion with the recently completed analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA), but still needed to finalize the lease and right of way agreements, the National Environmental Project Act (NEPA), and Section 106 reviews. Once the agreement is made, the town will receive a notice to proceed and the committed funds will be released, including: Downtown Transportation Fund $200,000, Northern Borders Regional Commission (NBRC) $350,000, Town ARPA $100,000, and Windham Regional Commission Brownfields $260,000.
Pickup said the major funding would be from a Consolidated Rail Infrastructure Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant for $1.8 million. Pickup said for this grant, the state agency would apply on behalf of the town for the federal funds.
Board member Elijah Zimmer referred to the ABCA report with its recommendations for removing portions of the plaster in the restaurant section, and said “from a historic preservation standpoint, we should avoid that.”
Development Director Gary Fox said time and research was spent working with Rockingham’s Historic Preservation Commission and the State Historic Preservation Officer, Elizabeth Peebles, Historic Resources Specialist, had recommended maintaining the waiting room for historical integrity, and removing necessary portions of the plaster in the back rooms. He said for preservation, they look for the balance of renovation and maintaining a reasonable approach to preserve the history.
Fox suggested sticking to the final agreement and Section 106 review to comply with federal and state funding requirements. Zimmer said the town could figure out the final approach; whether or not to compromise.
The Rockingham Town Meeting is on Monday, March 6 at 7 p.m., with the School Board meeting to follow, and will be held in the Lower Theater of the Bellows Falls Opera House. Voting will be Tuesday, March 7 at the Masonic Temple from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The board regular meeting will be Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lower Theater.