Generating ideas to re-use two town properties along the White River at the north end of Rochester village will be the focus of a public meeting on Thursday, July 24 at 5:30pm at the Rochester Town Office. The meeting is co-hosted by the White River Partnership (WRP), Vermont River Conservancy (VRC), and Town of Rochester; light refreshments will be provided.
The two adjacent properties, located at 205 and 209 North Main Street, were privately-owned and severely damaged during Tropical Storm Irene. Rochester worked with the WRP and VRC to apply for “buyout” funding to purchase the properties from the private landowner, to remove the damaged structures and infrastructure, and to grade and seed the sites. Permanent deed restrictions will limit future development to reduce flood damages at the sites and a Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB) easement will ensure permanent public access to the sites.
The state has set aside $750,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to help towns plan and construct buyout site improvements that meet community needs. The July 24 public meeting will seek input from community members about the site improvements they’d like to see at the North Main Street properties. Project partners will work together to convert buyout site improvement ideas into conceptual designs that may be submitted for CDBG funding consideration. If CDBG funds are received, site improvements will be completed in 2015.
Since Tropical Storm Irene, the WRP, VRC, VHCB, and Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission have worked with watershed towns to raise awareness about FEMA’s buyout program; to submit buyout project applications on behalf of eligible landowners; and to raise awareness about allowable uses and community re-use options for completed buyout projects. Project support has been provided by the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program and the Vermont Watershed Grant.
For more information, please contact Mary Russ, WRP Executive Director, at (802) 763-7733 or mary[at]whiteriverpartnership.org.