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2018 Update #39

August Arrives; Public Space Downtown

Late Wednesday afternoon a busload of teenage musicians arrived downtown from the Point Counterpoint chamber music summer camp on Lake Dunmore.

They were in town to attend a concert by Point CounterPoint faculty musicians, including special guest artist Diana Fanning, at Town Hall Theater.

What struck me as I watched them animatedly swarm down Main Street, even spilling into the roadway, was how little public space we have in the center of our downtown.

Like a space where 50 kids could hang out at night before or after a THT concert. Or where a visiting family could sit and take in Middlebury before nipping into the Vermont Book Shop or Sweet Cecily. Well-lighted, open, welcoming public spaces.

Of course, that’s particularly true now that Triangle Park is under construction through 2020, but still true even when the Park was open. Riverfront Park in the Marble Works and the new College Street park across from Shafer’s Market are great green spaces, but they’re not in the heart of downtown.

I hope that you’ll join me and others later this summer when we convene a second meeting to get your input on what the NEW Triangle Park should look like once construction is over. It’s going to be four times the size of the old Park. I’ll announce the date of that meeting shortly.

Now on to the business at hand.

It’s August and we’re approaching the six-month mark. Here’s where we stand.

This week in Printer’s Alley Kubricky, ECI, and Maine D&B continued to prepare the launch pit for the arrival of the tunnel boring machine. That is now scheduled for the week of August 13, though some of the related equipment is already onsite alongside the pit. The photo below shows Maine D&B and ECI working together to install rock netting to protect workers in the launch pit from any falling rock.

Next week, ECI will finish excavating the bottom of the launch pit and then build a concrete pad to level out the bottom of the pit and provide a platform for the tunnel boring machine.

In Triangle Park, Hayward/Baker completed drilling the first set of steel minipiles and tiebacks into the slope leading down to the rail line and, as shown in the photo below, Kubricky began installing timber lagging between the minipiles. As we talked about last week, the purpose of all this work is to stabilize the slope in preparation for excavating Receiving Pit 2, the southern arm of the drainage system.

Middlebury firm Nop’s Metalworks was onsite in Triangle Park to weld some of the steel structures being put in place (like the "T angles" welded onto the minipiles to hold the timber lagging in place in the photo above).

Next week, Kubricky will continue excavating down the slope, installing additional timber lagging. Hayward/Baker will drill several more minipiles on the rail side.

Over at Receiving Pit 3, the northern arm of the new drainage system, located alongside the rail line in the Marble Works, Hayward/Baker began drilling minipiles on Wednesday afternoon. That work will continue through the end of the week and into next week.

Work on the temporary access road connecting Water Street to the Battell Building parking lot will continue to take place next week depending on the weather and other priorities.

The Downtown Survey

We’re now up to 175 responses to the one-question survey I sent out to help us think about the future of our downtown as we make our way through three years of construction. I’ll get a summary together of what you had to say ASAP. It’s very interesting! If you haven’t done so, you can still take the survey here.

That’s all for today. See you downtown.

Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.

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