Joint-use building update

Here is an update on the plans for the new joint-use municipal building. The committee working on the project met Jan. 15 with the architectural firm they've chosen to help in the planning, which (as I mentioned in a previous column) is AES out of Plattsburgh. Together they set a date for the next big public meeting, which will be held in the school auditorium Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.

At that meeting, Supervisor Dan Connell will introduce AES's lead architect on the project, who happens to be Westport's own David Whitford. So, after years spent globe-trotting and gaining valuable experience managing big engineering projects, David will coming back to work on a much-needed facility in his home town. He will lead the meeting, offering an overview of the plans so far and the various options that are under consideration.

David and the committee members will also field queries from residents and listen to suggestions and comments.

"There will be ample opportunity for questions," said Supervisor Connell.

The committee, made up of members of the town board, the school board, and the fire commission, has emphasized all along that they want the process to be an open one, with lots of transparency and lots of public input. They've done some great work, but nothing has been set in stone - yet. I'll be revisiting the subject as the date draws closer, but I wanted to give you a "save the date" notice now.

Another meeting you might want to attend will be happening much sooner. That's the public hearing on renewing the mining permit for the Barber gravel pit, which the APA has decided should be up to the planning board. The matter will be considered at the planning board's regular meeting Wednesday, Jan. 28 and the public hearing will be held immediately beforehand, at 7 p.m., at the town office.

Some residents in town have objected to the noise from the trucks coming through from the pit, while others have pointed out the economic benefits of the pit, which is, after all, just about our last small industrial enterprise (since we lost General Composites, maybe the last, period).

I trust we'll all take a page from our new president's playbook and keep our cool. See you there, I hope. But if I don't, you'll be able to read about it here, because I'll be revisiting this one, too.

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