In today’s update, I’ll focus on the things we’re putting in place to try to minimize the disruption to downtown during the demolition of the Main Street and Merchants Row bridges and their replacement with temporary spans. As a reminder, this work begins Thursday, July 20, and is scheduled to wrap up on Saturday, August 12.
Please keep your ideas coming. During June I was able to move quickly on many of your requests and suggestions to improve getting around downtown.
“Main Street Express” To Provide Quick and Easy Access To Downtown
As I announced in a press release yesterday, VTrans is funding a downtown shuttle service during this next phase of construction. This initiative is the result of a cooperative partnership between the Town, ACTR, VTrans, and the Better Middlebury Partnership.
The goal of the service is to provide quick and direct access from two parking lots to the center of town for employees who work downtown and for residents and visitors who want to shop, dine, or take care of business downtown.
The Main Street Express will run from Saturday, July 22, through Friday, August 11. Hours of operation are 8 AM to 6 PM, Monday-Saturday. The service is free to all riders.
The shuttle will serve two Town-owned parking lots: the Memorial Sports Center/Town Pool parking lot on the east side of town off of Buttolph Drive and the Mill Street parking lot in Frog Hollow near Storm Café. A 14-passenger ACTR shuttle will make a continuous loop downtown during its 10 hours of daily service, bringing those parking in these two lots to two downtown locations: the Post Office and Middlebury’s Town Offices.
To encourage ridership, each week the Better Middlebury Partnership will select five riders to win a $50 Middlebury Money gift certificate courtesy of the Middlebury Selectboard. Middlebury Money gift certificates can be redeemed at nearly 100 local businesses in Middlebury.
Information Booth Staffed by Community Volunteers To Point the Way
The Better Middlebury Partnership’s Hot Cocoa Hut, a central feature of our Very Merry Middlebury holiday celebration downtown, will return to Cannon Park on Saturday, July 22, to serve as an information booth directing residents and visitors around town during construction.
The idea of downtown volunteers, or “ambassadors,” surfaced during the Neighbors Together meetings at St. Stephen’s last year. The Neighbors Together group, which brought together members of the community representing a variety of interests and organizations, has been instrumental in channeling creative energy and ideas into workable solutions to minimize the project’s impact on our town.
The information booth initiative has been organized by St. Stephen’s, the Better Middlebury Partnership, the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, and the Town on behalf of Neighbors Together.
Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday 10 AM – 4 PM. Volunteers will be supplied with wayfinding maps and an up-to-date rundown on where to go and what to do in town.
Mark Your Calendar: August 2 Downtown Midd Summer Festival Event
The Better Middlebury Partnership is organizing a Midd Summer festival event right in the center of town for Wednesday, August 2, from 4 to 8 PM. This is during the period when Main Street is closed from Bakery Lane to Seymour Street and Merchants Row is closed as well but pedestrian access is open to every business and building downtown.
The event is designed to bring the community downtown to support our merchants in a big way. The BMP is organizing live music and food from local restaurants. I’ve asked Kubricky to park an excavator in the center of town so that kids can have their picture taken in the cab. And Middlebury Underground is organizing some fun activities for the event, too.
The point of this event is to support our merchants. Shoppers are asked to spend a minimum of $25 at any one of our downtown stores. You can then enter your receipt into a drawing to win a grand prize of $500, two runner-up prizes of $250, and five $50 prizes. These are Middlebury Money gift certificates provided courtesy of the Middlebury Selectboard.
Following the event, the BMP will be showing “Shrek” in the new College Park.
Please plan to attend!
Improved Way-finding Maps & Signage
I’m working with the local Middlebury design firm The Image Farm to create a Middlebury map that will show residents and visitors how to get around downtown during construction. The map also identifies businesses in the central downtown area so that visitors know where to eat, shop, mail postcards, etc.
Matt and Pam Heywood created The Image Farm to provide graphic design, illustration, and web design services to the community. Clients include Stone Leaf Teahouse, Costello’s, the Vermont Bookshop, Bud’s Beans, and Aqua Vitea, among many others.
This work is being funded by VTrans.
Welcome to Our Guests
Each of the hundreds of weekly guests staying at any of the inns in Middlebury and throughout Addison County will receive a welcoming note from me that explains why construction is taking place downtown and encourages them to come downtown and enjoy all that Middlebury has to offer. The welcoming note will include the way-finding map I mention above.
Finally, An Update: FairPoint Work on Merchants Row. It looks as if FairPoint completed most of its work yesterday installing a new conduit to serve the Battell Block and will be back in town this morning to complete the job with minimal disruption to Merchants Row parking and travel.
Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.