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2019 Update #12

New Homes for Bats, A New Parking Ambassador

If you were on the way to morning coffee and an OG at Haymaker earlier this week and happened to glance across Otter Creek, you might have wondered at the unusual-looking contraption that had suddenly appeared on the riverbank.

Mystery solved.

This week VHB and Kubricky installed two types of artificial bat roosts along Otter Creek in order to mitigate for the loss of known and potential roosting habitat for federally- and state-protected bat species. Some bat roosting habitat has been lost with the demolition of the Merchants Row Bridge and as trees have been cleared in the rail corridor.

The artificial roosts are being installed now so that alternative summer roosting habitat is available to resident bats returning to Middlebury from hibernation.

I turned to Meg Lout, VHB Environmental Scientist and Bat Biologist, for a better understanding of how the roosts work.

The artificial roosts include two “rocket boxes” and two four-chambered nurseries. Rocket boxes and four-chambered nurseries incorporate varying roost designs that, research shows, are preferred by the different bat species in Middlebury.

These artificial roosts are capable of supporting maternity colonies that will help to promote the recovery of Vermont’s threatened and endangered bat populations.

Each artificial roost contains multiple chambers that provide a variety of micro-climates, which accommodates for the varying temperatures needed for females to successfully rear healthy pups throughout the summer.

The roosts were installed in compliance with guidance from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

Keeping Downtown Parking Available

Earlier this week Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley introduced me to the newest member of the police department. Middlebury resident Jodi Covey is the town’s new “parking ambassador.”

We all know how important our limited parking is downtown for those who need to get to the Post Office, to our downtown businesses, or to Town Hall Theater. Jodi’s job is to keep those premier parking spots available to those who need them.

Jodi will be working variable hours five days a week and will be a visible presence downtown. She seems to have the right mix of friendly and firm to do the job well. Say hello if you see her on her rounds!

And as a reminder, unless otherwise marked, parking on Main Street and Merchants Row is limited to two hours between the hours of 7 AM and 6 PM, Monday-Saturday.

Your Weekly Construction Update

This week ECI completed its work in the Launch Pit, including construction of the “GRES wall” we’ve discussed the past two weeks, and is now off to other jobs, returning to Middlebury later this summer.

As ECI mobilized out, Kubricky began excavating the trench and laying the conduit that will allow GMP, Comcast, Consolidated Communications, and FirstLight to run their lines underground at the entrance to the Marble Works. Those connections and the dismantling of the aerial lines will happen later this year.

The trench excavation will continue next week across the roadway that leads from the Marble Works into the National Bank parking lot. Access to the parking lot will remain open though there may be some minor delays getting vehicles in and out. At times, pedestrian access between Printer's Alley and the Marble Works will be detoured a short way around the construction. The Kubricky crew will direct foot traffic.

Once the trench work is completed, Kubricky will re-seed and pave as needed in Riverfront Park and the Marble Works and do an overall clean-up of the construction area.

Then things will get quiet until later this summer when the main segment of the project gets underway with the construction of new water, stormwater, and sewer lines for the town and the installing of minipiles and sheeting along the rail corridor to prepare for the rebuilding of the downtown rail line.

But time enough to cover all that in a future update.

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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