Bennington will reject salt shed grant

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Editor's note: We wrote the article below after learning from the state that the town of Bennington had been awarded a $340,000 grant to help pay for a new sand and salt shed. After printing it, we learned the town plans to reject the grant for reasons relating to federal grant requirements. An updated article will run on this site and in print.

BENNINGTON — Over $300,000 in federal funds have been awarded to build a salt shed at the planned public works facility.

Voters in March approved the town purchasing a former Plasan North America building on Bowen Road and renovating it to house its Department of Public Works. One piece of that $3.2 million project is constructing an 80-by-80 foot shed on the east side of the 16 acre property to hold the town's salt, sand, and gravel.

The $340,000 for design and construction comes from the Vermont Agency of Transportation's Municipal Highway and Stormwater Mitigation program. It's one of 18 projects in the state that VTRANS announced on Wednesday will receive $6 million in federal and state grant money, according to a news release.

"We are committed to doing our part to improve the quality of state waters," Joe Flynn, VTRANS transportation secretary, said in a statement announcing the funds.

The one-story, wood frame building will have two storage bays with 12-foot high concrete walls. The new shed will prevent storm water from eroding loose piles of material and entering streams and wetlands, according to the town's grant application.

The town had requested $340,000 for the project and pledged a local match of $85,000, according to the grant application.

The new DPW facility is under construction and when completed, will hold some 40 employees and equipment previously scattered across three locations. Also planned for the site is a 12,000 gallon gas and diesel fuel depot.

Plasan closed its plant at 228 Bowen Road in February 2015. The town purchased Plasan's other building at 78 Bowen Road for $1.7 million for the DPW facility.

The grant program aims to address issues affecting water quality, including the design and construction of culverts, salt sheds and drainage systems, according to a press release from VTRANS.

"These grant funds will help support critical infrastructure improvements that are so important to the state's clean water initiatives," Gov. Phil Scott said in a statement. "As we take an `all in' approach to protecting Vermont's waterways, I appreciate the work of VTrans to offer this grant program and support our municipalities."

The $4.8 million in federal funds and $980,000 in state capital bill funds was leveraged with $1.4 million in money from communities. Combined, the projects are valued at $7.3 million. The project in Bennington netted the sixth-highest amount of federal funds.

Reach Ed Damon at 802-447-7567 Ext. 111


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