SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – At the Aug. 14 meeting of the Springfield Select Board, the community sailed through its second official review of the Springfield town plan with no substantial objections to the eight-year action plan. The 2017 plan is an aggressive rejuvenation project that has taken over two years to compile. The 14-chapter plan encompasses goals for the town on all levels and is available for download on the Springfield town website.
Special interest was expressed by the community, as well as the Select Board, toward enticing post-secondary schools – particularly graduate schools pertaining to healthcare. Springfield has interested graduate schools in the past, but the schools opted for New Hampshire towns over Springfield. The schools are reluctant to invest in a small community that doesn’t already contain a high enough population of potential graduate students. George T. McNaughton Esq. (Springfield) expressed that there were many facilities that would make wonderful post-secondary schools in town, but feared without active support from the Vermont Agency for Education it will be difficult.
Much of the town plan revolves around making the town of Springfield appeal to a younger demographic, with a pivot towards clean energy by providing electric car charging stations, as well as emphasizing a more healthful Springfield with better access to walking trails and the river.
Some reluctance was expressed by residents about the choice of location for the projected solar arrays for the hospital. Jim Claybeck (Springfield) expressed concern about the location for the arrays being in a residential area and that there is no way of avoiding the arrays being seen in “the public viewshed,” which was defined as any area that can be seen by the public from highways, trails and other public use areas. This does not apply to the view from private property. Select Board member Kristi Morris assured the small crowd that “If they install them [the arrays] they will have to be maintained” to uphold a certain public aesthetic. Chapter 9 still appears to be flexible and subject to change by the energy board to better meet the community’s needs; McNaughton also brought it to public attention that Act 250 did entitle the community to “some deference” in regards the location of the arrays. Catamount Solar extensively interviewed citizens within the proposed neighborhood to ensure that all residents of that community could express all objections, as well as attending earlier meetings to insure availability to address concerns.