WILMINGTON -- The sidewalks in the downtown village are in absolute disrepair, says downtown organization Wilmington Works Executive Director Adam Grinold.
"From an infrastructural need, they need to be fixed or repaired," he said.
According to Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy, four high quality bids for a scoping and planning study that will focus on the streetscape were received and opened by the town on the morning of May 20.
"It's basically to determine where we should extend, what to replace that we currently have and what the process would be to get permission from property owners that don't have a sidewalk," he said.
A selection committee led by Gretchen Havreluk and a representative from the state will evaluate those bids.
The street segments include various parts along Route 9 and 100 as well as South Main Street. Some sections need widening while others need to be repaired.
The design as well as safety issues were mentioned in the Request for Proposal. Through the study, project leaders are hoping to have recommended improvements and a list of priorities; an assessment of historical, archaeological and environmental constraints; a clear documentation of issues associated with the project; conceptual drawings of new and resurfaced sidewalks and crosswalks and a complete preliminary cost estimate for engineering, administration and construction.
"I'd like to see this happen in the next few weeks," he added.
Part of the funding for the study comes from a grant from this year's VTrans Transportation Alternatives Program. Through it, Wilmington is required to come up with 50 percent of the $50,000 matching grant.
"From there, we're going to go after other grants," said Havreluk.
With Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery, or CDBG-DR, funding set to end in Dec. 2015, she says the town is on an accelerated schedule so that it meets that deadline.
In March, the Selectboard approved of Murphy moving forward with filling out an implementation grant for that funding, which would go towards sidewalks and streetscape improvements. Havreluk and the downtown organization, Wilmington Works, were expected to assist with filling out the application. Murphy thought it would be submitted by August.
"It's not going to be for the full amount that we need," said Havreluk. "It will only be for a portion of the budget."
The project will be completed in various phases. Planning and scoping will come first.
According to Havreluk, the downtown organization will be very involved in the process of planning. A member of the Wilmington Works Design Committee will also be on the selection committee for this project. The Design Committee will also play a large role in planning the project.
"It's a collaborative effort with the town and Wilmington Works and with VTrans," said Havreluk.
There will be a community meeting with the company chosen by the selection committee, where public input will be sought.
The deadline for the planning process is Sept. 8. That is when the company should have something to present.
"From that process, we can write other grants for implementation," said Havreluk.
To assist in recovery efforts after Tropical Storm Irene, a company, Arnett and Muldrow, visited the town and had its final meeting at Memorial Hall in April. The company will be sending its findings that will be presented in a report that will contain recommendations. The service was made available through one of the Vermont Downtown Association grants that the organization receives as part of its receiving a downtown designation.
Grinold told the Reformer that the report will assist in the planning stages of the streetscape project.
"What the report shows is the need for many different things to focus on, with the sidewalks and the pedestrian friendly nature of the village being one of those that rises right to the top," he said.
The bigger picture is the design concept that the village is working towards, says Grinold. The sidewalks are only part in its development.
"It's one element of many that will together show a thoughtful, planned design for enhancing the pedestrian friendliness of the village," he added.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.