Dover receives grants to assist with Valley Trail expansion


DOVER -- On Tuesday night, Economic Development Director Ken Black informed the Selectboard that the town was approved for two VTrans bicycle and pedestrian grants that will go towards paved Valley Trail project plans.

"That's the great news," Black said.

One grant will provide financial assistance for a scoping or feasibility study on the portion of the trail that will be expanded to go from the West Dover Post Office to the West Dover Fire Department building along the state right of way on Route 100. That grant was for $33,000.

The other grant will cover construction costs of expanding the trail from Dorr Fitch Road to Tollgate Plaza. That grant was for $324,380 and includes installation of a bridge across the Deerfield River.

Applications for the grant program were submitted at the end of June. Both grants require a 10 percent match from the town. Black and the Selectboard had anticipated such costs as expansion plans for the Valley Trail were being developed. Altogether, the expansion will make the trail approximately 1.5 miles long.

In other business:

-- Black's proposed Dover Town Park donation guidelines were approved by the Selectboard. He had identified several locations in the park where donations of benches and trees could go after the idea was proposed at the last meeting.

"We could start with those locations," he said. "I know one person wants to donate something. And we'll see where it goes."

The guidelines contained the prices and another page contained a visual layout for where items might go. Black requested donations be accepted on a first come, first serve basis and that business sponsors be included as well. Brass plaques for benches would read either "Donation in Memory of" or "Donated By."

The benches will be purchased with concrete pads to hold them down. That donation will cost $1,000 while balsam firs or maple trees will cost $400 to donate.

"I know from the concerts in the park, a lot of folks were kind of complaining about not enough shade in the park," Black said.

No partial donations will be accepted but people can go in on a donation together. Selectboard Vice Chairwoman Victoria Capitani said it just has to fit in the given space. The plaques will be 2-inches by 10-inches.

Black planned on sending e-mails to businesses and property owners on a mailing list to alert them that the program was in effect.

"We can add additional locations as infrastructure is developed," he added. "For example, as the various sidewalks and trails are developed, perhaps we want more trees or benches to be donated. We'll keep evaluating the program on a quarterly basis and send reviews to the Selectboard."

Board member Tom Baltrus raised concerns about a potential donor wanting to put something inappropriate on a plaque. Since the town will be handling the purchases, any request would be subject to approval.

All benches will be of the same type. There was only one bench -- currently located on the Valley Trail along Route 100 -- that is not. Capitani noticed that one looked different than the others in the park and inquired about it.

"It was stained the same color as the playground," said Black.

-- The topic of whether to allow vendors in the park was also addressed again. The guidelines Black proposed were not approved after some discussion. All board members opposed it while voting.

Independent Television and Film Festival Executive Director Phil Gilpin Jr. had previously asked for permission to sell snacks in the park during the festival coming up in September as screenings will be held at various properties along the Valley Trail on Route 100. At the time, the board denied his request but suggested the issue would come up again in the future.

Board member Linda Holland and Capitani said they were not sold on the idea. After discussing the possibility of charging a small fee to vendors, both board members shot the entire proposal down. Capitani approved of bands offering CDs for sale during the town sponsored summer time concert series, saying those were unique items.

"I think it's taking away from the fact that this is an open public greenspace and how many events are going to be in there that are not town sponsored? In my understanding of the park, none. It's open to everybody at anytime. You can't charge admission. How many people are going to try to run an event on a property they can't reserve?" Capitani said. "I don't like the concept of making it a fair. I think it's a place for families to come."

Black's plan is to host eight concerts next summer.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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