The city is preparing to move forward with a facelift around the Amtrak station as Amtrak prepares to expand service.
Trains from New York will continue from Rutland to Burlington in July, although state officials said this week that a specific date has yet to be set. With the expectation of greater attendance, city officials hope to present a prettier image for people arriving in Rutland and Mayor David Allaire announced last week that the city had received a state grant from $300,000 for work around the station.
The project’s conceptual designs include adding a sidewalk to Evelyn Street, increasing parking, adding trees and green space, and connecting the station’s pedestrian facilities to the sidewalks of the commercial plaza. downtown. Rutland Redevelopment Authority executive director Brennan Duffy said he expects final design to occur in the summer and fall, with construction next year.
Duffy has also been in talks with Brixmor Property Group, the owners of the square, to coordinate other improvements such as a small park near the station.
“We just met with one of the Brixmor reps last week,” Duffy said Tuesday. “He is still in discussion with them about how we could collaborate on improvements on both sides of the property line.
The grant requires a 25% local match, which Allaire said he plans to get money from the city’s ARPA if the council of aldermen approves his proposal to set aside $400,000 from the plan. federal stimulus package as a contingency for matching funds.
Meanwhile, the city is also seeking up to $750,000 in planning grants for projects with a loose relationship with the railroad. The board of aldermen voted last week to join the Chittenden County regional planning commissions’ request for federal transportation money. Alderman Devon Neary said CCRPC has reached out to work with other communities on the request for a total of $2 million after failing in last year’s funding round.
“The grant program itself is very broad – open and competitive grant funds are available across the country,” said CCRPC Executive Director Charlie Baker. “I think there’s at least a billion dollars and Congress may have increased the funds available. … The big picture is how to improve transit service in northwest Vermont.
Rather than starting directly with transit services, Baker said his organization plans to start by looking at land use and housing factors, including zoning, walking and type of density in centers. -cities that better support public transit services. Based on what they find there, he said, they will consider what kind of transit services would best serve those communities.
He also said that the CCRPC will act as a conduit body for the funds and that other regions can pursue the type of projects they deem best for them.
“Maybe Rutland doesn’t need to update its zoning and can focus on walkability,” he said. “We are trying to help a lot of different cities, and they will all have specific needs.”
The Community and Economic Development Committee compiled a list of projects last week after members went through the downtown strategic plan and pulled out what could be. Items ranged from another look at the development of a downtown hotel to pedestrian safety at railroad crossings. Neary said they could also consider developing manufacturing and warehouses next to the railroad.
“We could look at food freight at the Vermont Farmers Food Center, how we ship fresh food,” he said.