STAMFORD, Vt. -- The future of the town's sidewalk enhancement project will be in the hands of voters later this week.
A special town meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the gymnasium of Stamford Elementary School to decide if the town should continue with construction of a planned sidewalk along the west side of Main Road. The proposed sidewalk would replace the existing one from Mill Road south to across from the southwest corner of the school property. The approved plans call for a curbed sidewalk within the state's right-of-way.
In a news release issued Sunday, the Stamford Select Board stated its desire for the project to continue and outlined several reasons supporting its position. One of those reasons noted that it would cost the town more money not to do the project versus having it done.
"If it didn't pass, we'd spend about $42,000 for doing nothing. We'd also still have a dilapidated sidewalk system that would need to be repaired eventually," Eunice Rice, chairwoman of the Select Board, said Sunday.
The project is being made possible by a $200,000 grant from the Vermont Transportation Road Enhancement Project, which is funded by the Federal Highway Administration. The town is responsible for providing a 20 percent match, or $40,000, for the grant.
According to the news release, the Federal Highway Administration has already spent $33,764.65 on the project. The town's share is $8,441.16.
"According to the grant agreement, if the sidewalk project is stopped, the Federal Highway Administration's $33,764.65 would be required to be returned. Add that to the town's $8,441.16, and the total cost not to complete the project would be $42,205.81," the news released stated.
The Select Board said in the news release that the project isn't "a sidewalk to nowhere, but a sidewalk to the future."
"We believe this is a way of improving the center of our community without raising taxes. It will show some pride in our community and update a very dilapidated sidewalk system," Rice said.
The sidewalk enhancement project has been ongoing since 2006. Originally, the sidewalk was to follow the west side of Main Road from Mill to Jepson roads and cost roughly $500,000.
Rice said in speaking to the Bennington County Regional Commission, it believes the project will likely start in the early summer of 2013.
The special town meeting was made possible by a petition signed by local voters and was submitted to the town in August.
To reach Meghan Foley, email email@example.com.