Swanton Village Ready to Support Airport Water and Sewer Project | New
SWANTON – Village officials say if a vote to extend the water and sewer lines from Missisquoi Valley Union High School to Franklin County Airport fails with voters in Highgate, there is a strong possibility that the village using federal dollars to try to help.
“With a lot of the federal money going towards infrastructure upgrades and everything in between, the village would be interested to see what we could do to help with this expansion,” said village manager Reg Beliveau, referring to to COVID-19 relief funds destined for the State of the United States Recovery Plan.
Selectboard President Neal Speer could not be reached for comment.
The airport expansion, Beliveau said, would spill over into the surrounding towns and community, including Swanton Village, which was one of the reasons the village had a vested interest in the possibility of settling down. water and sewage at this location.
“There is a huge possibility here,” Béliveau said. “Not just for us, but for our grandchildren. It’s all about planning for the future. You are looking today, but you are planning five, ten years later. “
The water and sewer lines are technically within the village limits, and Beliveau said that when the new lines were installed in 2017 to replace an old waterline from the 1960s, they were installed with a view to ” a possible possible extension of the airport.
“There was always a conversation about the possibility of extending the service,” Beliveau said. “Every time we’ve been up there … some of the businesses there there’s non-potable water … so we put a ‘T’ in so all they have to do is now is to tie you up. go.”
Prior to installation, Beliveau said they had installed a new transition line between the Swanton reservoir and the village, which was also fitted with a connection for MVU.
The airport currently uses a septic tank and runs on well water. Border Air co-owner Kevin Dwyer said that with funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for the airport expansion set to begin construction in 2023, more capacity is needed.
According to FAA standards, every airport must have a 20-year growth plan to be able to meet the needs of new types of aircraft, fluctuating traffic, economic changes and business needs. Airport manager Clifford Coy said his intention was to expand further to meet and respond to the region’s growing economic desirability.
The airport is currently 350 acres, Coy said, and the original runway was supposed to be much larger – 7,000 feet, to be exact.
“We have 60 acres in one direction, and another 45 in another that are not in use because they have never been turned into a runway,” Coy said. “And the current economic situation in Franklin County is pretty amazing in terms of employment and education opportunities. There are a lot of things that come together to make this county one of New England’s most significant growth opportunities. “
Beliveau said many homes near the airport have curb stops, already pre-tapped at the main, so if residents want, they can also connect to the proposed waterline if it’s installed. .
“We knew after talking with (Cliff) Coy, if something happened here, they would want to connect,” Beliveau said.
In a letter to Patrick Scheld, grant management specialist for the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development, MVU Superintendent Julie Regimbal said extending the water and sewer lines would benefit directly to students of schools in the region.
“This expansion would not only lead to significant economic development opportunities in our county, but we believe it would allow our high school students to expand and enrich educational opportunities,” Regimbal wrote. “We know that authentic and engaging internships and learning programs lead to better post-secondary outcomes for students. As we recover from the COVID 19 pandemic, our school is working to expand these work-based learning opportunities. The proximity of Missisquoi Valley Union high school to the airport makes it an ideal site for a more formalized aeronautical mechanics internship and apprenticeship program. Given the high unemployment rate in our region, we are committed to strengthening all possible programs to give students the skills they need to give them access to skilled and well-paying jobs.
Highgate Selectboard Chairperson Sharon Bousquet said she didn’t know if she thought a vote on local bonds for the project would pass, and if it wasn’t passed this time around, it wouldn’t go away. not.
“It would help our big list, which would (eventually) lower our taxes,” Bousquet said. “I would think it would come back. It is certainly a project worth pursuing. If we could find enough funding, we would have much more support. “
Béliveau said he saw no reason not to pass the bond vote, but if he didn’t pass, the village is ready to help.
“The saddest thing would be – if that doesn’t go through, we stay the status quo,” Beliveau said. “You are going to continue to see our children leave and not try to stay here, live here and work here. It will be the best for Highgate and at Swanton. “