Re-thinking Brattleboro’s police/fire project

Editor of the Reformer:

We are two long-time residents and taxpayers of the town of Brattleboro. We are concerned about the ridiculousness of previous police/fire proposals and offer the following plan, which may solve some logistical problems and add to the tax base.

The town should buy the recently burned our property on lower Green Street which is adjacent to and due north of the existing Elliot Street station. This property, the former Custom Laundry, which was already been acquired by the town, and the existing fire station would provide plenty of space to build a combined police/fire facility on the site. Perhaps, it would even provide a substantial share of municipal offices there.

This plan would maintain a police presence downtown, avoid rehabilitating two old buildings, offer parking in the Transportation Center, and add to the Grand List. How may you ask? Sell the Municipal Center and the West Brattleboro Fire Station to a developer (public or private) and the spaces could be incubated similar to two very successful projects of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, namely, the Cotton Mill and the Book Press. The town could even lease back the second floor of the Municipal Center for meeting rooms, making the deal more attractive to an investor. This would add two commercial properties to the Grand List, a very necessary addition for the town, long term. It would also perpetuate an entrepreneurial environment for small business growth.


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How much will this all cost? We do not know but would like to have some estimates done. There will be savings from building new as opposed to rehabbing old and consolidating into one facility. The sale of the other properties (even at a discount) will bring much needed cash to the town and ongoing revenue to the town by growing the Grand List.

Let’s consider a plan to keep the fire department on Elliot Street and enhance the structure to produce a multi-use facility which will benefit our community for the next 50 years.

Hugh Barber and Joe Jewett,

Brattleboro, July 21

McNeil’s available
in plenty of places!

Editor of the Reformer:

In your article about the upcoming Hermit Thrush Brewery (July 21), you stated, "The only beer that is being brewed in Brattleboro is being sold at McNeill’s Brewery and the Whetstone Station."

That is not correct.

McNeill’s is sold on draft at a half dozen area bars and restaurants, and in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Additionally, we are now brewing at Wachusett Brewery, and have beer in scores of stores here in Vermont, Massachusett, Rhode Island and New York City, with more coming. Twenty-three years later and we’re still at it.

Ray NcNeill,

Brattleboro, July 21

Did you catch the plate?

Editor of the Reformer:

I read with interest your news report on July 15 about vanity license plates and New Hampshire’s problem with sorting through 2,000 applications to make sure none were suggestive or offensive to the public.

I have, over the past four or five years, collected more than 500 photos of odd, interesting, clever and amusing plates. Many are Vermont plates, but also a number from other states. For example: 57 CHEVY; NICE; RATBOY; SIX-T5; KIKICE; and GOTTATATOO. The Wal-Mart parking lot is my favorite hunting ground.

Warren Patrick,

Townshend, July 17

Support for Balint

Editor of the Reformer:

We are writing in support of Becca Balint for Vermont state senator from Windham County. We have known Becca for almost 20 years, including her tenure as co-director of Saltash Mountain Camp at Farm and Wilderness Camps, teaching junior high at various schools in Windham County, as a wife, mother, community member, Brattleboro town meeting representative, member of Southeast VT Economic Development Strategies, and now as candidate for public office. Many of you have become regular readers of her insightful column in the Reformer.

Becca is one of the smartest people we have ever known. Her insatiable curiosity, voluminous reading, and joy of vigorous conversation will serve us well in the Vermont senate. She is absolutely committed to doing her part to make Windham County’s workforce second to none in the state. She will be a passionate advocate for fair taxation, single payer health care, sustainable energy and excellent public schools. She is one of the first graduates from the Emerge Program, initiated by Madeline Kunin to encourage women to become more involved in politics.

Some have suggested that she should be discounted because she is a political newcomer. We say it’s time for a new generation of political leaders who are keen to bring new energy to statewide politics. Becca may be new to the political scene, but she is no newcomer to vigorous debate, personal connection, and genuine concern for the working people of Windham County.

Remember, the primary date is Tuesday, Aug. 26, and that you may vote early.

Jonathan and Charlene Morse,

Marlboro, July 15

In support of Barnett

Editor of the Reformer:

Lamont Barnett asked me to write a letter supporting him for the position of assistant judge and I readily agreed. I have known him for several years and served with him on the Rockingham Selectboard when he was chairman.

Some of his qualifications for this position are clear. He is extremely sharp and remembers everything down to the smallest detail. If he says he’s going to do something, he’ll do it. And, the most important trait for this position is being trustworthy. My husband, who has an antique truck that he treasures, would only let "Monte" drive it in a parade. He won’t even let me drive it, but that’s another story.

Ann C. DiBernardo,

Cambridgeport, July 21

International relations

Editor of the Reformer:

One main goal of the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai is to promote people-to-people exchange between the United States and China.

I read your article about the former Brattleboro Union High School student spending time in Shanghai (July 19-20). We are so glad that Xoe Perra had enjoyed her time in Shanghai. And please feel free to drop us a note if BUHS students are coming to Shanghai in the future. We’d be happy to meet them and provide any support/advise they may need. And if they are an outgoing student like Perra, they can also be our volunteer ambassador to interact and introduce to our Chinese audience their part of the United States.

Weina Yang,

press advisor, U.S. Consulate,

Shanghai, July 21