By Councilor Bryn Oakleaf
Hello, Winooski. As you may know, I serve as the City Council Liaison to the Municipal Infrastructure Commission (MIC), which supports the City Council and staff with implementing the municipal infrastructure sections of our Strategic Vision and Master Plan. Below is a summary of the most recent MIC meeting held on May 19.
To start, I'd like to take a moment and bid farewell to our Commission Chair, Laura Dlugolecki, who provided seven impressive years of strong leadership and expertise to the MIC. As we extend our thanks and best wishes on her future endeavors, please join us in welcoming Jason Williams as our new Chair. Recently, we welcomed two Winooski residents to the Commission. Emily Corley and Brian Borah have great interest in the traffic calming plan, bike and pedestrian transportation plans, and overall enhancements to increase safety and resiliency to City infrastructure. We’re excited to have them on the Commission.
During the meeting, we were joined by Efficiency Vermont who presented their Communities Program, which supports renters, landlords, non-profit organizations, and City-owned infrastructure. This program has some amazing resources that are available through 2023 - including a virtual home energy walkthrough, free energy savings kits, a $200 qualifying appliance coupon, business consultations, rebates, and low-interest business financing. Click here to learn more: efficiencyvermont.com/winooski.
Building on the conversation with Efficiency Vermont, the Commissioners were very excited to learn about the Municipal Fuel Switching Grant Program (act H. 518 - anticipated to pass in the coming days), which allocates $26.6 million in one-time grants of up to $500,000 per eligible municipality for weatherization, thermal efficiency, and to supplement or replace fossil fuel heating systems that further energy resiliency. To view the full details of this program, click here.
Continuing the discussion, the MIC reviewed the municipal infrastructure sections of City Council's policy priorities and strategies, which was discussed during our annual retreat on May 21st. The Commission emphasized five areas they want to see Council prioritize for FY23 (July 2022-June 2023), including:
After, the MIC discussed a few updates, including the Vermont Department of Transportation's (VTrans) U.S. Route 7 and East Allen St. Construction project. Paving will begin just after Memorial Day, and the City will be sharing weekly updates directly from VTran's channels. Click here to view the first update. VTrans will also present their summer and fall construction plans during the City Council meeting on June 6th. City staff is continuing to gather easements from landowners for the Main Street Revitalization project - construction cost volatility is being watched closely and strategies are being explored to proactively mitigate project cost overruns. In other major project news, Winooski is collaborating with VTrans, Burlington, and CCRPC to apply for a grant to replace the Winooski River Bridge. If awarded, the grant will require a 5% match by Winooski of about $1.5 million, which must be spent by 2030. In other City updates, the parking study has been finalized and was presented to the Council in April for review. The Traffic Calming Plan is nearing completion and will be presented to City Council in the next month or so.
I encourage all Winooski residents interested in the City’s infrastructure to attend future MIC meetings, which occur monthly (third Thursdays) from 6:30 - 8 PM. Meeting notices can be found here on Front Porch Forum and via our website news updates. For details, visit winooskivt.gov/infrastructure.
Please get in touch if you have comments or questions on the work of the MIC.
Councilor Bryn Oakleaf - email@example.com