Home Heard on the Street Heard on the Street, Dec. 20, 2023

Heard on the Street, Dec. 20, 2023


FEMA Pulls Out of Country Club Road Housing

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has pulled the plug on plans to site 18 trailers on the city of Montpelier’s Country Club Road property. While original plans called for 36 trailers to house those who had been displaced in the July 10 flooding, the numbers ratcheted down over time as people found their own housing. At this point, City Manager Bill Fraser told The Bridge, FEMA was “able to get [people displaced in the flood] housing more quickly and efficiently” than it would take to set up the trailers. “The good news is that people in need got housing,” Fraser said.

A complicating factor is that FEMA has already leased the land at $42,768 per month. Fraser said he expects FEMA to honor the lease for 12 months, amounting to $513,216, “which we can still put toward the development of that site.” Fraser noted that the lease details were not confirmed as of press time.

Montpelier Cannabis Store Changes Hands 

Montpelier has gone from three recreational cannabis retail stores to two as a result of the recent sale of Vermont Patients Alliance to Waterbury-based Zenbarn Farms. The last day of retail recreational sales for Vermont Patients Alliance was Dec. 8, 2023. According to vermontbiz.com, “the acquisition includes a medical dispensary in Bennington, a medical/recreational dispensary in Montpelier, and a state-of-the-art hybrid greenhouse cultivation and manufacturing facility.” Vermont Patients Alliance, one of the original medical cannabis companies in Vermont, was previously purchased by Grassroots (Chicago) and then by Curaleaf.

Dog Contacts Live Wire, But Lives

The Montpelier Department of Public Works recently reported a dog came into contact with an energized electrical line at the intersection of Main Street and Memorial Drive. Rubber mats and barricades had been placed for the evening and the circuit was de-energized, according to a DPW report. The dog’s owner said the dog is doing fine, despite the episode.

Porch Package Thefts Increase

The Montpelier Police Department often gets reports of missing or stolen packages outside homes, but it gets worse over the holidays. The MPD urges people to keep an eye out for “porch pirates,” and to write down descriptions and license plates if you actively see a package theft in action. Additionally, people are encouraged to track packages in order to pick them up as soon as they are delivered, and to install a video doorbell or camera system. Another strategy is to have packages delivered to a P.O. box or locker at a retail site if possible. Also, ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out and to accept a delivery as well. Other safety tips are to request a signature in order for the delivery to take place and have the package delivered elsewhere so it can be actively monitored. If something does get stolen, file a police report.

Montpelier Facilities Advance Homelessness Solutions

The Country Club Road temporary winter shelter is now up and running. Also, the boiler at the Barre Street Recreational Center has been restored to operating condition. Additionally, a feasibility study for the center has been presented to the Montpelier City Council to pursue options to provide services for people without housing. One of the options shows ramped access to the basement with new public bathrooms as well as the possibility of creating a permanent basement shelter, according to a recent Montpelier City Manager’s report. The plan will be pursued in greater detail with the aim of attracting more funding partners.

—compiled by Carla Occaso with additional reporting by Cassandra Hemenway