by Andrew Martin
Work to complete the purchase of the lot owned by Jolley Associates in Jeffersonville is drawing to a close. While no definite date has been set for the closing of the sale, Jeffersonville Village officials plan to close anytime between mid-January and mid-February. The agreement outlining the purchase of the 4.2-acre lot from Jolley Associates by the village was signed in January of 2012. The goal of the purchase is to prevent further flooding in the rest of Jeffersonville Village by keeping the lot undeveloped and open as a flood plain.
“The sale will happen in early 2014,” commented Jeffersonville Village Trustee Jay Allen in an email interview with the News & Citizen.
“We have been waiting on the final EPA evaluation of the Brownsfield Soil Study that was performed during the summer of 2012,” Allen added.
The total cost of the lot is $402,500, and according to Allen the Village has already raised a large amount of the required funds. Approximately $362,500 of the total cost has been raised or approved by village voters, meaning that the Village is roughly $40,000 short of the final mark. A total of $75,000 was previously approved by village voters to aid in the purchase of the lot, and although the Jeffersonville Village Trustees had initially intended to not use those funds and raise the entire $402,500 via donation and other outside funding sources, it now appears as if the $75,000 will be utilized in the purchase.
According to Allen, the Village is planning to close the final financial gap by asking previous large donors to slightly up their pledges and/or by negotiating a grant or loan from Jolley Associates, Inc. for the difference.
The Phase II Brownsfield Soil Study that was conducted at the lot in 2012 found sub-soil traces of certain substances that could require surface soil mitigation if the Village plans to disturb the portions of the property were those substances were found.
“If left untouched the area is presently safe for walking on,” explained Allen, “However, to permit full use of the property and to guarantee safety for our villagers we are presently applying for state and/or federal funds to clean it up.”
Once officially purchased, Allen further explained, the property will primarily continue to serve as an unspoiled flood plain for the village, thereby helping to protect the adjacent village and commercial areas from extreme flooding. He added that the Village also is slightly interested in converting a large portion of the lot into a park.
According to Allen, a number of other different options have been discussed for the lot. One such option was a walking path and conduit to the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail and Cambridge Greenways Trail. Other options include an arboretum with benches, a skate park, a site for farmer’s markets, a celebration field for holidays and music festivals, and a parking area for the CCTA bus system. None of these potential uses would violate the statutes of the Village’s Inundation Hazard Bylaws that were adopted in 2011. Allen went on to comment that the residents of the village will have the final say on what is done with the lot.
“A public meeting will be held after the property is purchased to further determine the villager’s preference for uses of the property,” Allen commented.
“As in any municipal undertaking, this project has taken a long time to complete and has required the trust and assistance of our State, the Town of Cambridge’s Selectboard, Jeffersonville’s Board of Trustees, and our Villagers,” Allen added in his email interview.
“The full development of the property will again entail a lengthy evolutionary process that should be directed and supported by our villagers and should provide an interesting flood-mitigating interface between the Lamoille and Brewster rivers, Route 15, and the village center,” he concluded.
Anyone wishing to donate to the purchase of the lot can still do so by making out a check to the Village of Jeffersonville and sending it to the Jeffersonville Village Office, P.O. Box 189, Jeffersonville, VT 05464. On the check it should be stated that the donation is for the purchase of the Jolley property. Donors should receive prompt acknowledgement that their donation has been received along with a receipt.