ST. ALBANS TOWN — If deemed worthy, two revitalization projects in St. Albans Bay Park may benefit from $4.3 million in federal funds.
According to an email sent to Vermont municipalities from the office of Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., the U.S. House Appropriations Committee gave each member of Congress authority to nominate up to 10 community projects for possible federal funding in fiscal year 2022.
In response, St. Albans Town has requested $4.3 million for two projects: $2.7 million to raise the town dock 2 feet and reinforce its structure, and $1.6 million to “turn the stone house into the Taj Mahal,” according to Director of Operations Corey Parent.
“We figured those are good projects. The dock especially would be tough to fund on our own in the near future,” Parent told the Selectboard during its Monday meeting.
If awarded the funding, the town would have to spend it within a year, Corey said. Updates to the stone house would include replacing the roof, electrical and lighting system, and renovating the existing bathrooms. Raising the pier would help keep it above water during high water years, improving access and helping it last longer.
“We have pretty advanced engineering done to redo the bay park pier and stone house,” Parent said.
He said the town wouldn’t know until mid-April whether or not the bay park projects make Welch’s list, and the town would have to wait until October to find out about inclusion for federal funding.
According to a letter in support of the projects from Selectboard Chair Brendan Deso, the town received an official village center designation from the state within the last year. He said the town has made numerous investments in the bay area in recent years, including plans to turn a 2.2-acre parcel into a public access boat launch.
The projects would be part of a $10 million revitalization effort for the bay park in the coming years, according to a project description obtained by the Messenger. The most recent investment, to the tune of $5 million approved on Town Meeting Day, will see a new town hall constructed in the bay area.
“These structures were built to help build a solid American middle-class and raise our nation out of the Great Depression,” Deso wrote of the pier and stone house. “Now, 90 years later, we find ourselves in a moment of history where our President is asking us to build back better. This request does that.”