Rockingham Selectboard Discusses Transportation Center

Bellows falls discusses transportation center. Photo provided.

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the Rockingham Selectboard discussed an update of the Bellows Falls Intramodal Transportation Center with Development Director Gary Fox.

Fox outlined the sources and uses for the funding stack and explained one of the dependencies included completing an Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) for lead and asbestos to include with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review.

Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) was finalizing the NEPA review, but Fox said there were challenges due to the number of agencies and partners for this project. He said the lease with the State of Vermont must be negotiated before the Town of Rockingham can sign a purchase agreement for the station building. Fox said they are looking at the history of the intersection at Depot and Island to determine the right of way. He explained that since the 1800’s the town has maintained the road.

Fox explained that the ABCA analysis must be completed with the NEPA review at an additional cost of $10,000 and requested approval for the funds by the selectboard.

Fox explained that reviews for NEPA and Section 106 (basically the project effect on a historic property) must be complete before the grant funding from Agency of Commerce and Development (ACCD) is approved for $200,000 and the Northern Borders Regional Commission (NBRC) gives the notice to proceed. The town is working with the Division for Historic Preservation who holds a strong interest in maintaining interior plaster and interior portions of the building.

Fox said those funds give the town $550,000 for acquisition and to complete the brickwork, masonry, bulkhead foundation repair, and window and door rehabilitation.

Fox said the station would be eligible for $300,000 for lead and asbestos abatement. He is meeting with VHB and the Vermont Rail Division next week to identify where the departments can collaborate on the right of way and also the parking lot during the Depot Street Bridge Project. Fox has scheduled meetings to coordinate with Amtrak on the site work, walkways, and platform.

Municipal Manager Scott Pickup said the challenge is to coordinate with the agencies on their requirements. He said there were potential ARPA funds in the funding stack which will be discussed in the future on a final document, but wanted to bring that to the Board’s attention.

Board member Bonnie North asked if the Village could kick in ARPA funds. Pickup said he had not spoken to the Village.

Board member Rick Cowan moved to approve $10,000 for the analysis, the motion passed.

The Rockingham Selectboard meet on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 6 p.m. in the Lower Theater of the Bellows Falls Opera House and on zoom. Budget presentations on Tuesday came from Rockingham Free Public Library and Rockingham Entertainment Development, more will be presented on Dec. 6.

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