East Calais, Vt. - With Town Meeting Day edging closer in the Green Mountain State, one central Vermont community is focusing on safety and development March 7th. But it'll be up to the voters to decide how the future of Calais is impacted.
Safer roads and a more developed community center. In Calais, a Town Meeting Day decision could impact the East Village for years to come. "East Calais Village is a tough place topography wise. We've got walls, we've got property owners right up close to the road, how can we make it safer," asked Jan Ohlsson. And that's the million dollar question in Calais. Well, in this case, the $2,000 question.
"Are we really a bedroom community, is that all we want to be? Or do we want to be a small time destination place that can offer great parks and recreation," again asked Ohlsson, Planning Commission Vice Chair for Calais. She says a yes vote on Town Meeting Day vote could help shape the future of the East Village. She's hoping people will give the go-ahead on $2,400 that will go towards a community development grant.
"It's a plan to revitalize some areas in Calais to bring more community members into other parts of town," added Selectboard Chair Denise Wheeler. She says the grant will help fund a feasibility study. It'll focus on ways to increase safety along busy Route 14, which splits the East Village in half. Wheeler and Ohlsson envision more crosswalks, better signage, improved parking, and creation of an historic trails network. "The why of that is for the health, and security of the people that live there. If you want to improve and get more people involved to move into the village, you've got to show you care about those issues," stated Ohlsson.
The hope, those small improvements lead to economic growth and sustainability, while preserving the east village's historic charm. "It's that sense of community. People really look out for each other. If somebody is in need people will step up to the plate and help others out, that's the spirit that embodies Calais," said Wheeler.
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