PUTNEY -- As construction crews finish up their work on phase one of Putney’s sidewalk project, town officials are ready to talk about the second phase of the downtown improvement plan.
The Selectboard will be holding a special public information session Wednesday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m. at the Putney Fire Station.
The public meeting is a requirement for the grants that the town will apply for, but Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard also said the Selectboard is looking for input on the proposed second phase which will extend the sidewalk from the village center, north on Route 5 to Landmark College.
The board is considering three different options -- two sidewalk paths along Route 5 and a more rural walkway behind Putney Paper, and at this point Stoddard said the town is ready to present the plans to Putney residents for input and to gauge support for the three different ideas.
"Right now we have three different options and we want to have a public meeting to go over the plans," Stoddard said. "There are some big price differences and we’re not sure which would be best. That’s what this meeting is all about."
Stoddard said phase two of the sidewalk project is estimated to cost between $593,000 and $992,000, depending on which option is chosen, though she stressed that preliminary estimates are not yet complete.
The town has partnered with Landmark College on the planning part of the project and the
The college agreed to pay up to $15,000 for the scoping study, which helped the town meet a deadline and cut a year off of the grant application process.
Now the town is getting ready to apply for two different state grants to help cover the costs of design and construction of the northern sidewalk extension that will connect Landmark College with downtown.
Stoddard said it was not clear what role Landmark would play as the project advances.
Putney wants to apply for a grant through the VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program as well as through the Transportation Enhancement Program.
It took the town almost four years to apply for grants, design the walkway and finish up construction on the first phase of the sidewalk which now runs about one mile from Town Hall to the Putney Co-op.
That project cost about $446,000, with the town paying for just more than $89,000 and grants covering the rest.
Stoddard expects to have preliminary estimates available in time for Wednesday’s meeting.
The town has already held a few meeting with business owners along Route 5 and Stoddard said she and the board hope people come out Wednesday to begin discussions on the next phase of the sidewalk project.
"I think phase one has gone very well. We are not done yet but so far it is mostly on schedule and on budget," said Stoddard. "Everyone has worked very well together on this. Everybody realizes that that stretch of Route 5 is dangerous and everybody would like to see a solution.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.