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2019 Update #20

What's Ahead, NT on WCAX

More than 100 people, including many downtown business and property owners and residents, turned out on a rainy Tuesday evening to attend a special Selectboard meeting held to update the community on Middlebury’s Downtown Rail and Bridge Project.

The event, held in the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society sanctuary, provided an opportunity to hear the Vermont Agency of Transportation and its partners Kubricky and VHB preview the 2019-21 construction plan that will take us through to the end of the project.

VTrans project manager Jon Griffin, Kubricky VP of construction Mark Alexander, Kubricky senior construction manager Nathan Speanburg, and VHB lead engineer Aaron Guyette reviewed what the project accomplished during 2018 and then walked through, stage by stage to the end of the project, the construction activities that are planned, the timeline for these activities, and what they anticipate the impacts of the work to be on the community.

The presentation’s focal point was the 10-week closure of Main Street and Merchants Row next summer to rebuild 3500 feet of the downtown rail corridor and replace the Main Street and Merchants Row bridges with a tunnel. Excavating and handling contaminated soils, transporting some 400 pieces of precast concrete through town, managing cross-town traffic and directing visitors into town—these were some of the more notable topics of discussion and attendee questions.

The presentation concluded with the final landscaping and paving planned for 2021 and several renderings of what downtown will look like post-construction, one of which I’ve included here.

In my next update, I’ll take a deep dive into what 2019 looks like when construction gets underway later in July. Then we’ll do the same for Summer 2020.

In the meantime, you can read through the presentation here and watch the entire two-hour meeting on MCTV here. If you’re an online subscriber, you can also read John Flowers’ informative article in The Addison Independent here or in the print version of the paper.

What’s Old Is New Again

Recently I mentioned that Sue Hoxie, former executive director of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, has joined the Neighbors Together/Better Middlebury Partnership team to help develop and execute ideas for promoting Middlebury on social media and through the BMP’s newly relaunched website, Experience Middlebury. (The website work was funded by a rural business enterprise grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.)

The digital marketing initiatives will get underway with a series of blog posts highlighting our businesses and the unique shopping and dining experiences they offer.

The first post, released earlier this week, features Middlebury’s seven resale shops: Round Robin, Otter Creek Used Books, Junebug, Neat Repeats, Buy Again Alley, HOPE, and Monroe Street Books. Neat Repeats and Junebug have both just relocated—Neat Repeats to Midd South Plaza and Junebug to the Marble Works—and HOPE has just undergone a major renovation, so this is a particularly timely piece.

You can read the post and learn more about what these shops offer the community here.

The digital marketing effort is funded by a grant from the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

Bundle Alert

Bundle, our new pop-up storefront on Main Street in the former Clay’s space, moves into its third month on Saturday hosting a Make More Mail workshop taught by Alex Muck, founder of Fun is a Necessity. Participants will enjoy a morning of letter-writing and card-making and have an opportunity to experiment with origami, calligraphy, brush lettering, and many other techniques. The two-hour workshop gets underway at 10 AM and costs $25. You can register for the fun here.

Next up on the Bundle schedule is a three-part Women’s Writing Workshop with author Heather Mary Noble that will explore themes of love and relationships, motherhood and family, and identity and power. Cost is $20 a session or $50 for all three and you can sign up by emailing Heather at No previous writing experience needed.

Looking ahead to July, the Department of Public Dreams returns on July 1 and 2 with its “Mapping the Places We Love” workshop. Here you’ll learn hand-drawn mapping basics and have fun mapping real or imaginary places close to your heart. Cost is $40 for the two-part workshop and you can register by emailing No experience necessary!

Bundle is an initiative of Neighbors Together and the Better Middlebury Partnership and is funded by the Vermont Agency of Transportation.


Speaking of Neighbors Together, did you happen to see the WCAX report on Middlebury last week?

WCAX reporter Christina Guessferd was in town for an impromptu story on how the community is working together to maintain downtown vitality and accessibility during the main phase of our construction project. Lisa Phelps at Parlour, Nancie Dunn at Sweet Cecily, and Karen Duguay, executive director of the Better Middlebury Partnership, were interviewed. You can watch the segment here.

Your Weekly Construction Update

No construction activity is planned downtown until later in July. Once I have specific dates and activities in hand, I’ll communicate them out.

Final note: Friday afternoon I’ll be meeting again with the folks at the Residence at Otter Creek to update them on the project. If you’d like me to update your organization on construction plans, just let me know and I’ll be happy to meet with you.

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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