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Community and Business News in Brief, Jan. 24, 2024

Image courtesy Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

Waterbury Public Library Returns a Favor, 96 Years Later

After the 1927 flood, the trustees of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library (KHL) in Montpelier sent the Waterbury Public Library a $100 donation to help the Waterbury library recover. This year, Waterbury delivered a $1,087 check to support KHL in its recovery from the catastrophic flooding in July, returning the favor, adjusted for inflation, 96 years later.

Kellogg-Hubbard suffered over $1 million in damages in the July flooding, including damage to major mechanical systems such as heating, fire safety, elevator controls, and electrical. After a Waterbury library commissioner discovered an article from the 1929 Waterbury Record detailing KHL’s generosity, the Friends of the Waterbury Library, a volunteer fundraising group, decided to support their colleagues in turn.

Because July’s flooding destroyed KHL’s book sale, a major fundraiser for the library, the Friends chose to donate the August-December proceeds from its own book sale to KHL. In 1929, the Waterbury Public Library used the donation to purchase six Windsor chairs and two reading lights to replace items lost in the flood. Kellogg-Hubbard will use this year’s donation to replace lost book sale revenue and support ongoing programming.

“This incredibly thoughtful gesture of generosity demonstrates the long-standing friendship between our two libraries,” said Kellogg-Hubbard Library Executive Director Dan Groberg. “We stand together in our work of promoting lifelong learning for all Vermonters.”

“The Friends of the Waterbury Public Library are thrilled to be able to return this generosity to Kellogg-Hubbard Library after all these years,” said Maureen White, President of the Friends of the Waterbury Public Library. “We understand the critical role a library plays in its community and are happy to do our part in supporting the Kellogg-Hubbard Library during its recovery.”

—press release

Montpelier and Barre Unite in Backing Omnibus Flood Relief Bill

In a recent unified action, the city councils of Montpelier and Barre have unanimously passed a joint resolution supporting the Omnibus Flood Relief Bill. This move underscores the gravity of the July 2023 catastrophic flooding that profoundly impacted both communities. The aftermath of this disaster left many residents facing the daunting task of rebuilding their lives from scratch. 

Introduced by Representatives Peter Anthony (D-Barre City), Conor Casey (D-Montpelier), Kate McCann (D-Montpelier), and Jonathan Williams (D-Barre City), the Omnibus Flood Relief Bill proposes essential aid for those affected by the flood and allocates $15 million to assist municipalities statewide grappling with budgetary pressures. It also includes $40 million in grant funding to support businesses that suffered over $300 million in economic losses in central Vermont.

The bill encompasses significant investments in flood mitigation, regional mapping, and dam removal, among other measures, to prevent future disasters of a similar scale. It also aims to enhance Vermont’s emergency preparedness, ensuring the state takes a proactive stance against future crises.

 In their joint resolution, the cities of Barre and Montpelier express enthusiastic support for the Omnibus Flood Relief Bill. They strongly urge Governor Scott and the General Assembly to recognize the urgency of this situation and pass the bill into law. Copies of the signed resolution will be sent to Governor Scott, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate Pro Tem, highlighting the unified voice of Montpelier and Barre in advocating for this crucial legislation.

—press release

Adrienne Gil. Courtesy photo.

Gil Announces Candidacy City Council Seat

Adrienne Gil, a public health director in program management and a community volunteer, has announced her candidacy for Montpelier’s District 1 City Council seat in the city’s March 5 election. 

“I love and care deeply for my community. As a member of the City Council, I will add a fresh perspective to the race by applying expertise in building partnerships, collaborative relationships and process improvement.  Now is the time to address the pressing challenges of our small but spirited city,” Gil said in making her announcement. 

Gil describes herself as an energetic and dedicated community volunteer. The mother of two teenagers in Montpelier schools, Gil said City Council needs to address demographic challenges ahead and work to attract young families who will support the schools into the next generation.   

Gil co-founded MRPS Partners in Education (MRPS PIE), a nonprofit organization formed in January 2019 to support families and the school community. In that role, Gil has taken the lead in organizing the Montpelier Fall Festival, which raises money to support caregiver groups in local schools. Gil has also been an ardent advocate for neurodivergent students and has coached youth sport teams.

“As a community of about eight thousand residents, we cannot continue to aspire to big, broad goals while losing sight of the immediate needs,” she said.” Deferred maintenance is taking its toll on our budgets, and we can no longer simply look the other way. The glue and Band-Aid approach is not working.”

“We must act now on the city’s plan to address our crumbling roads and our aging water systems,” Gil said. “And we must continue to help our residents and businesses who are still affected by the July floods.”

Gil said she would use her energy and experience in bringing people together to advocate for more coordination between city, state and federal agencies, as well as with other local municipalities, to address the most difficult challenges including housing, homelessness, roads, bridge infrastructure and climate related events — that are just too big for the city to solve on its own. Meeting these challenges helps secure Montpelier’s reputation as a city attractive to young families, businesses and entrepreneurs. 

“Nonprofit organizations and volunteer groups do tremendous work in our community, and we are certainly better off for their efforts, but they should not be left to shoulder the burden on their own,” she said. “We must ensure that as a capital city, Montpelier gets support and resources from those larger agencies whose sole purpose is to help on these fronts.”

Gil encourages residents to reach out to her at 802-552-0644 with any questions or concerns they would like to discuss. She also plans to hold Zoom sessions with voters in the weeks leading up to Town Meeting Day. The District 1 map can be found on the city’s website.

—press release