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2019 Update #24

Ramping Up, The 30/30 Challenge, Stories Matter

Construction is just around the corner so let’s start with an update first on that front.

Your Weekly Construction Update

Kubricky reports that they expect Maine Drilling & Blasting to begin drilling minipiles in the rail corridor on Monday, August 5. The first week’s work will take place in Triangle Park and then shift south to the rail corridor behind South Pleasant Street the following week.

Long-time readers may recall that minipile drilling has been part of construction from the outset of the project. When the Merchants Row and Main Street bridges were replaced with temporary bridges in Summer 2017, minipiles were installed across both Main Street and Merchants Row. This past year minipiles were drilled in place to support excavation of the north and south receiving pits (located in the Marble Works and Triangle Park, respectively) of the new drainage system.

This year minipiles are being installed to support the rail abutments when the rail corridor is excavated and rebuilt next summer. As I mentioned last week, we’ll take a closer look at the where and how of this operation as work gets underway next month.

In advance of August 5, Maine D&B will have a drill rig in the rail corridor to check elevations and verify the lengths of the minipiles in select locations.

Those orange construction signs will reappear around town before August 5.

Final construction note: you or your vehicle may have noticed the “bump” as you drive across the Main Street Bridge headed down Main Street. Kubricky will repave that section of the roadway and perform routine maintenance on both bridges in August.

30 Miles, 30 Days, $100

Our “30 Miles in 30 Days” walking challenge got off on the right foot on Tuesday as some 40 walkers joined Seleem Choudhury, the new president of Porter Medical Center, for a mile-long walk through town. Seleem comes to us from Great Britain via the Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. J.

Seleem (pictured above with Michele Butler of RiseVT) talked briefly about his vision for Porter and the well-being of our community, emphasizing the importance of managing our health through preventative care built on a healthy lifestyle.

Co-sponsored by Neighbors Together, Porter, and RiseVT, our walking challenge has two goals: 1) to promote wellness through walking; and 2) to create greater awareness of the many opportunities for parking that are within a short walk of central downtown, leaving parking closer to downtown for those who truly need it. Case in point, this week’s walk highlighted how close the Mary Hogan parking lot is to downtown.

This will be particularly important during next summer’s 10-week closure of Main Street and Merchants Row and the loss of most parking on those two roadways

Join us again next Tuesday, July 23, at 5:15 PM at Mary Hogan (rain or shine!) when Dr. Dan Huber will give a brief talk on “Pre-Diabetes: What to Do?” followed by another mile-long walk around town.

And remember: If you keep track of your daily miles, wherever you walk, you can submit your walking log at our Downtown Block Party on Wednesday, August 14, for a chance to win one of five $100 Middlebury Money prizes.

Finally, a big thank you to Neighbors Together co-chair Linda Horn for organizing this event. That’s Linda on the left in shades and white T-shirt. That’s me, cut off on the left, arm around my son Jack, visiting from Santa Barbara.

Sheldon for Kids

I often hear that there’s little in town for parents with young kids to do.

If that’s you or someone you know, the Sheldon Museum is currently presenting Whimsical Wonders: Fairy Houses from Nature through September 1. This delightful exhibit features a selection of fairy houses created by environmental artist Sally J. Smith. You can read more about this exhibit here.

And then on Sunday, August 11, from 1:30 – 3:00 PM, you can head through the looking glass to attend a Mad Hatter Tea Party & Hat Workshop at the Sheldon. Dawn Wagner will lead participants in “extraordinary hat making.” Sounds like a lot of fun. Call the Sheldon at 388-2117 for more details.

The Sheldon Museum is the country’s oldest community-based museum and a true treasure trove of Vermont and Middlebury history. Well worth visiting from time to time to remind us of our past.

The Power of Story

Speaking of the past, on Monday, August 5, Story Matters and the Ilsley Public Library will host Back in the Day, a special story-telling event that will take place in Bundle @ 60 Main.

Those who remember downtown Middlebury in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s are invited to join in this story-telling exchange. Or you can just come and listen to tales of a time when pharmacies, soda fountains, and department stores lined Main Street and Merchants Row, when Star Mill housed a popular drinking hole, and when tractors were sold in the Marble Works.

Two story cycles will take place, the first from 3:30 to 5:00 PM and the second from 6:00 to 7:30 PM. Images of downtown Middlebury will be on display and MCTV will film the stories for viewing on their website.

Those with stories to tell about downtown Middlebury are encouraged to contact Mark Wilch at to be included in the lineup of storytellers. Anyone with images of historic downtown Middlebury should contact Dorothea Langevin at

Story Matters reminds us that downtown Middlebury has a long history of change and that through the sharing of these stories we can anticipate the future of our downtown, one with new ideas, new stores, and new stories.

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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