The Waitsfield ARPA committee tasked with reviewing and assessing requests for the town’s $506,081 in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act received over a dozen requests for funding by the November 18 deadline, and at least one request after the deadline.
The applicants, as they appear in order on the town’s website are as follows:
Neck of the Woods Child Care Center requested $25,000 to go towards the estimated $190,000 cost of building a kitchen and cafeteria. Neck of the Woods is requesting a similar amount from each of The Valley towns.
Free Wheelin’ is requesting $10,000 towards the cost of a new electric vehicle and charging station to be built at Evergreen Place in Waitsfield. The total cost of project is $90,000 and Warren, Moretown and Fayston are being asked to contribute as well. Free Wheelin’ anticipates additional funding from fundraising, Green Mountain Power and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
Jim Boylan, a Waitsfield resident, has asked for $12,000 to install new all weather American flags with appropriate lighting to be displayed at all town-owned flag poles including the town office, school and cemeteries.
The Valley Players community theater group has requested $75,000 to help recover from COVID shutdowns including the loss of $25,000 when the 2020 Mad River Valley Craft Fair was canceled. The project narrative notes that the all-volunteer nature of the troupe meant ineligibility for federal COVID relief programs such as PPP and Shuttered Venue grant. Furthermore, a recent inspection of the Valley
Players Theater building by the Vermont Department of Public Safety has resulted in the group needing to make multiple upgrades and repairs to the current fire safety systems over the next two years at an approximate cost of $100,000.
Mad River Valley Senior Citizens is requesting $7,500 to support the Meals On Wheels program. Similar requests are being made to Warren, Fayston and Moretown. Meals On Wheels delivers up to seven meals a week for recipients, delivered by volunteer drivers.
The total budget for Meals On Wheels is $106,488. Waitsfield’s 19 recipients account for 42% of local recipients. The Mad River Valley Senior Citizens has seen inflation impact all of its programming with costs projected to be 42% higher than two years ago. This year the group faces an expected budget shortfall of $22,500.
Mad River Valley Television is requesting $250 from all six towns in the Harwood Unified Union School District to extend wireless internet to the lower sports field at Harwood Union High School. This connectivity will enable MRVTV to live stream sporting events to spectators and others in the area and extend Waitsfield Telecoms community internet project.
The Couples’ Club has asked for $30,000 to offset $40,000 in costs to put up a new backstop behind the baseball diamond at the southeastern end of the property.
The new backstop is needed to prevent foul balls from flying into the area of the bocce court. The existing backstop is not high enough to stop some foul balls and bocce players have been hit and injured by baseballs entering the bocce court area.
Friends of the Virginia Farley Riverside Park have asked for $5,000 to create and endow a park on the town-owned Tardy parcel along the Mad River. Farley, a conservation professional who recently died, will be honored and memorialized by the park.
The Skatium has asked for $7,000 to fund a feasibility study and has asked for that same amount from Fayston. This study would evaluate the feasibility of converting the current facility into an open air, multiple use roofed facility.
Spring Hill School is requesting $6,000 to go towards a $15,000 effort to rehabilitate the school’s outdoor learning space. That includes gardening, tree studies and a mud kitchen. The application notes that the current outdoor equipment, including playhouse, swing set and climbing set are more than 20 years old and degrading due to extensive use and weather.
The Waitsfield Tree Board requested $50,000 for ongoing maintenance, removal, trimming and replacement of trees, including those impacted by the invasive emerald ash borer.
Downstreet Housing and Community Development applied for $61,000 to go towards a $67,272 project to create a welcoming outdoor recreational space for children and adults at its Mad River Meadows property. The space will include the addition of a kiosk at the entrance to the Mad River Meadows Trail, as well as the creation of a pavilion, a paved half-court basketball court, and a playground.
The Harwood Unified Union School District asked for lighting upgrades for the Waitsfield Elementary School and Harwood Union, to the tune of $10,000 per school. The funds would be used to leverage existing HUUSD funds to replace
older, less-efficient florescent fixtures with new LED fixtures and replacement bulbs.
Grant requests will be made to other towns for shared Harwood lighting projects.
The Joslin Memorial Library has requested $20,000, the total cost of improving the park adjacent to the library with lights, accessibility and safety improvements, benches, landscaping, and other improvements.
The Mad River Valley Conservation and Recreation Visioning Steering Committtee, a part of the coalition of local organizations administering the $409,000 grant to create a recreation hub connecting Waitsfield to The Valley’s trail network, is requesting $5000 for the visioning work to creating standards for trails and recreation that protect the environment and foster stewardship around high elevation trails, deep woods habitat, headwaters etc. Fayston and Warren have also been asked for $5000 for this effort.
The Mad River Valley Village, a digital community portal developed by The Valley Reporter, Open Hearth and the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce has requested $1,500 per Valley town towards the $20,500 cost of bringing the digital portal online.
The digital portal will provide a single community calendar as well as a digital hub to link users to nonprofits, resources and assistance to close the information gap and make community resources and amenities easy to find; details about the Mary Harris Girls Youth Soccer Day or child care resources, for example.