By David Sellers
When we, as the three Valley towns, vote to tax the visitors, the tourists, stoppers-by and out-of-town friends for a little more contribution to our awesome Valley, we should, as I see it, offer them something special as a part of that. Here are some ideas:
- Put wind turbines on the ridges. The message for our guests is, We know that skiing, condos, lifts, snowmaking are very energy intensive. We are pioneers in this Valley in anticipating and participating in the mitigation of the effects of global warming and climate change. The Northern Power Wind business was founded in The Valley; the first solar residential structure in the U.S. (Dimetrodon) was built in Warren; Vermont Castings, the largest wood stove company in the U.S., was founded in The Valley; the localvore movement took hold in The Valley immediately; and so on. Showing that we can produce as much electricity as we use to power the ski areas by renewables is alone an attraction and message that should resonate with our friends and visitors.
- Build the Skatium arena. Not just new ice. Or a roof over the ice but a full-fledged arena that can seat thousands for concerts, hold statewide political conventions, take the car show that Stowe dropped and do it here, Antique Road Show, and other TV events and our own local skating, curling and outdoor winter events with an indoor and outdoor rink. Running track along the balcony, local exercise as the arena will be fully equipped with showers, lockers and weight rooms. Include a town indoor swimming pool connected and linked to the arena.
- Housing: Establish a sprawl-free zone, from Route 17 to the phone company, and pack in an enormous variety of housing types, including a super hotel. This means extending Slow Road to the Big Pic and developing a municipal wastewater treatment system. Offer long-term tax incentives for homeownership, all net-zero, using PV, geothermal and municipal heating systems that are all available.
- Transportation: With a high-density semi-urban (village) configuration with sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes, inner village transportation can easily evolve into electric scooters. They have taken over much of the human traffic in LA with app-dedicated electric scooters. Electric cars and mini-cars will be the norm soon and we should support this. In terms of long-term transportation, a tram from Sugarbush to the central core of Irasville would reduce the traffic and congestion both from Sugarbush and the village core. Reduce the carbon pollution, reduce accidents and reinforce the commercial quality of the village core as well as Sugarbush. Very expensive when looked at the outlaying cost; very cheap looking at the long-run benefits. In the very long future the use of rail in Vermont is fast approaching with the 10 Budd Rail diesel cars about to go into service. The Valley should plan a route for a future rail connection from Waitsfield to Waterbury. Waterbury will look to reestablish the rail that it once had from Waterbury to Stowe Village. The Route 100 traffic to Stowe is a nightmare and could easily be duplicated in The Valley. Aspen had to install a four-lane road to handle the traffic because they didn’t allow for affordable housing in town, thereby causing commuting congestion from outlying areas where housing was affordable. We have that problem in The Valley now.
Sellers lives in Warren.