A few weeks ago I took Nikki Fortier up on her offer of a guided tour through the construction project that is--or will be!-- The Village at White River Junction. I wanted to see for myself just what this thing was that was rising from a derelict former piece of prime real estate in our town.
This morning I'd like to encourage FX Flinn to post his 8/22 letter to the Hartford Selectboard to the dailyUV. Very informative, and really helped me understand the backstory behind the rationale of the loan in question, and having this project in the heart of White River.
A few thoughts of my own, and a question:
1. The location of this venture fits the town's Master Plan goal of building closer in to the town's center.
2. FX's letter does the math. And I like the math when seen in it's entirety. The town will definitely benefit financially. He does mention the "optics" of how the process works. I don't blame people for the sticker shock effect. But I felt better after reading his letter.
3. The tour gave me a chance to see/hear what it would be like to actually live there/work there. I was more than impressed with the quality of both.
4. During the tour I asked Nikki if there were other assisted living organizations in VT who were similar in model--building smack in the downtown rather than in a bucolic rural setting. Her answer surprised me: there are none in the US, not just Vermont.
I'd like to park on that one. When we bought our house in Wilder a key part of the decision was our ability to age in place--hopefully! I know a number of seniors who are hamstrung by their location and lack of access to transportation. I worry about them. The town has posted a survey on dailyUV about community resiliency as pertains to seniors in emergency situations. Having already begun experiencing ageism at my tender young age, I better understand the desire to live closer in/keep the situation within my control for as long as possible.
Finally, I do have a question. Can someone address the very legitimate concerns about parking? For people who live right downtown. For people who work right downtown--including the upcoming 65 new workers at The Village. And finally for the growing number of patrons of restaurants and businesses based downtown. This is the piece that I still don't think has been addressed well enough.
Progress is messy. It's a good thing we are smart enough to get the facts, work together on a plan, and keep loving our neighbors.