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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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“The Valley is only sustainable as long as it can get grants”

So let’s start simple I hope, here we go. The right of way through Sue Carter’s land, as I understand it, was an agreement between two farmers/neighbors; the town had no part in it.

Second, I don't think the town or the people of Warren voluntarily limited their access to the land; the owners had to block it off.

Then one owner sold their land I hear; now the first part of the path is not blocked off, which left Sue Carter alone, being harassed by the town (that is some people of Warren and some select board members) and I dare say, Sue can't afford to battle the town, but the town doesn’t really care about that; self-centered I guess, but then again most gold towns are.

No means no, what does the town not understand? So why do other landowners not open up a path through their land? Could it be the thousands on July 4? Or the garbage people leave on the path? Who knows, but here is your chance to step up to the plate. Besides, I don't want the Warren Select Board to be like the Waitsfield Select Board. Could we keep trying till we get the result we want, spare no expense?

So congratulations, Sue, on round one, and hopefully, there will not be a round two. I, for one, do not want to waste town monies, but as I often hear, a couple thousand dollars that’s not bad. A thousand here and a thousand there, is that why we cannot afford the $4.3 million in paving costs? At Town Meeting when discussing the access road, I believe we talked about little steps. The Mad River Valley is only sustainable as long as the grants hold out.

So this leads me to the sidewalk project being explored for the village of Warren – for those who don't know. The town of Warren received a grant for $26,000 to study the sidewalk issue, as I understand. That study grant puts the town in line to apply for a $200,000 grant to install sidewalks. I filmed the Walk and Ride program for MRVTV last year just to see the need for the sidewalks. This is what I saw. The day of the event, the school buses were half full, there were probably two dozen walkers and riders and that is being generous. Now, the amount of parents driving their children to school at 7:55 a.m. was overwhelming, which led me to the conclusion that the parents are the biggest danger to child safety.

Then I filmed on a normal day one cyclist and two walkers, 5 or 6 years old, being led by a responsible adult. Then there were the 80 cars mostly around 7:55 a.m. Now that makes for a cluster of ducks, let me tell you. Frankly, any other time of day the amount of people walking is marginal. So, again you have some select board members who want to put sidewalks in someone else's yard. Now I know some homeowners want them, but I personally would hate to see that nice stone wall come down for a sidewalk.

But yet again to spend $226,000 in grant monies for what? To make the country look more urban like the places where some of us came from? Does it really make you feel safe? Now let’s not forget that $4.3 million in paving costs to maintain the paved roads of Warren. Where is that cash coming from? Hopefully more grants from bankrupt feds or how about the state? Just look at your federal and state roads; they tell the story. We're broke and going down fast. But alas it will be a bond most likely. So we will have to go that route, but the sad thing is six or seven years ago the select board said that paving the roads in the future would not be a problem. It is in the budget. I think the paving budget only has around $260,000-plus or, correct me if I am wrong, not even enough to cover the expense of the access road?

So it is truly funny to live in The Valley which touts itself as being innovative and a sustainability leader. The Valley is only sustainable as long as it can continue to get grants. We do not live within our means. Some of our select board members like to waste time and money hassling property owners for the greater good, or for the selected few!

As far as I can tell by reading the paper and talking to people, the only sustainable town is Fayston. We like to have things in The Valley.

God bless The Valley and no one else.

From the silent minority.

Seniff lives in Warren.



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