KILLINGTON, VT – In a cleared out section of forest off of U.S. Route 4 in Killington, the biggest infrastructure project in the towns history is now officially underway.
Wednesday afternoon, town and state officials marked the start of phase one of ‘Killington Forward’, a nearly $50 million dollar infrastructure project that will bring upgrades to the towns water system and roadways, and eventually result in the construction of a new ski village at Killington Resort. Plans for the project have been talked about for decades, and town officials say phase one, which focuses on the water and roadway improvements, is expected to last a few years.
“It signifies just the start of something beautiful, but the end of a lot of work to get that momentum started,” said Stephanie Clarke, the lead developer of Killington’s tax increment financing (TIF) district, which will help partially fund the project through increased property taxes. Voters in Killington approved the tax increase earlier this year on Town Meeting Day by a 3:1 margin.
The cleared out section of forest where officials cut the ribbon will likely be one of the first areas where construction will start, as it will be the site of a new water pump station that could eventually spread to the entire town. Town officials say the water infrastructure upgrade is much needed, as the town has been dealing with Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as ‘Forever Chemicals’, contaminating their water system for the past few years.
“It’s a water system not only for the ski village that everyone talks about, but (it’s great) to get the main water source too so the rest of the town can build a municipal water system because of many other issues we have and contaminants such as PFAS,” said Jim Haff, a Killington Selectboard member, during an interview in September.
“This goes from Route 4 behind The Mountain Times where wells are located and extends the water line to the top of the mountain to tanks on the top of Shagback,” said Michael Ramsey, the Killington Town Manager, explaining the scope of the project.
While the new water system will eventually benefit people living in Killington, Ramsey says the first people who will notice the changes will actually be the construction workers focusing on other phases of the project.
“The first people that are going to be positively impacted by this infrastructure is going to be Great Gulf and the Six Peaks Resort that’s going in the ski village at the top of the mountain,” Ramsey said.
And even though Wednesday only marks day one, the people who helped make the project possible are already getting excited about what it means for Killington’s future.
“As we do more and more of these phases, we’ll be making continual impact in water quality, eventually bringing on affordable housing online that’s so desperately needed in this county as well as around the state,” Clarke said.