Milton Attempts To Revamp Route 7 for a Fourth Time

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Another effort to make Route 7 in Milton more inviting is garnering mixed reviews from the community.  This is the fourth time a design has been proposed.

“I can’t see it hurting our business at all and I think anything that’s going to make the area more visually beautiful is going to help us,” says Milton resident Ingrid Korpi.

Korpi has works at the Milton Diner on Route 7 North,a town staple for 32 years.  Down the road the Dam Diner is now going through its third owner.

 “Hopefully, Milton will grow in the next couple of years, I  think it will, and any kind of growth is good, especially for us,” says General Manager John Fundis.

Monday night, Milton’s selectboard heard consultants explain a plan to improve the town’s core.  It would include new LED light fixtures, crosswalks, bike lanes, and local art.

 “Milton is a center for the region and it is a place where people live, work, and play,” says David Rafael with LandWorks, a Middlebury- based consulting firm.

The presentation comes after months of public meetings.

“Pedestrian accessibility and circulation is very important, but equally important, at least we heard, were those enhancements, the lighting, the landscaping,” says Rafael.

Voters approved a $2.4 million bond in TIF funding last Town Meeting Day.  The proposed plan Monday exceeded $3.5 million.

“This is the fourth time we’ve had a consultant stand here and say ‘you’re right on the cusp, just do what we’re telling you to do,’ and all the times before when you include the land acquisition, when you include the maintenance costs, people were not prepared to make that investment,” says Selectboard member Kenneth Nolan.

Nolan says this scenario seems too familiar.

“We don’t have the money even as we sit here tonight, we have $2.4 million, we know what we can spend and quite frankly I’m very disappointed with this presentation.”

There may be opportunity for funds from VTRANS in the distant future, as Route 7 is under state ownership.  The Selectboard must first make a decision whether to move forward with the current plan, or request changes, at future meetings.

 

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