Select board votes to move forward with Kocher Drive bike path


BENNINGTON -- With the town saying it will do part of the work and the state kicking in about $150,000, the final design phase of a bicycle and pedestrian path along Kocher Drive can begin.

The Select Board on Monday authorized the Bennington County Regional Commission to move ahead with the plan. The vote did not authorize the expenditure of any funds by the town, but did give approval to a financing plan that will ask the town to match the awarded grant funds at 20 percent.

The project calls for the building of a path between Performance Drive and the Aldi/CVS parking lot. Local planners have said this will improve pedestrian access between different parts of town, but more importantly will allow children in area housing developments to walk safely to nearby schools.

In 2002 a federal earmark was allocated to the project, but it did not cover the total cost. According to Bennington Planning Director Dan Monks, who spoke to the board Monday, the $120,000 funding gap can be covered by the Vermont Agency of Transportation, which has agreed to supply up to $150,000. He said whatever amount is awarded by VTRANS will have to be matched at 20 percent. The plan also calls for the town to use its own crew on a portion of the project, but should not cost more than $50,000 and payment could be spread over two fiscal years.

The board voted unanimously to allow the design to move forward with this funding plan in mind.

In other business, the board made headway on creating a policy and procedure for conducting performance reviews on the town manager. Board member Thomas Jacobs said he would take the board's input from his latest draft of a policy and put forward a final one to be voted on.

Board Chairman Greg Van Houten said in an interview Wednesday that the policy will govern when the review takes place.

The board also appointed a committee made of up members John McFadden, Sharyn Brush, and Michael Keane, to determine what metrics will be used in the review itself.

Van Houten said the policy is something that can go from year to year, while the committee creating the standards has more flexibility from year to year.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.


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