Almost three months after Hurricane Irene flooded the state office complex in Waterbury, nearly 100 of the 1,500 displaced employees are now working out of the old Northern Power building in the Mad River Park.
The state employees were without a work space following flooding caused by Hurricane Irene last August.
Now, the phones are working, computers are set up and the move to Waitsfield is complete, according to the secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) Deb Markowitz. Ten minutes from Waterbury, the old Northern Power building was the closest option for relocating the office, she said.
While the building is not along any public transportation line, employees are carpooling informally and learning about what the Mad River Valley has to offer, Markowitz said.
“There’s no average commute, basically. We don’t have vanpools,” she continued.
The Mad River Park is on Route 100 in Waitsfield, north of Waitsfield Village. Until two years ago, that Northern Power building was occupied by Northern Power Systems. The building is owned by the Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation (CVEDC).
CVEDC had been actively seeking a tenant or tenants for the empty building prior to the flooding, and negotiated a lease with the state for workers to move into the facility. The building has 28,075 square feet.
It is still unclear how long the displaced employees will occupy the Mad River Park facility; the state is still in the process of deciding what to do with the flood-damaged offices in Waterbury.
Until then, Markowitz said, “It’s a great bright space, and we’re happy to be able to work.”
On Wednesday, November 30, the new workers were welcomed by Susan Klein, director of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce. She presented each worker with a gift bag featuring gifts, coupons, discounts and more incentives from local businesses.