ST. ALBANS TOWN – With the twist of a “gold” shovel, St. Albans Town formally broke ground on the garage for its public works department Tuesday morning, ceremonially kicking off the construction of the town’s largest infrastructure project in years.

The ceremony, held early Tuesday at the garage’s construction site on Brigham Road, was brief, with town officials and state representatives giving short rounds of appreciation for the boards who steered the project and the voters who approved it.

“This is a really exciting day for us here in St. Albans,” said town manager Carrie Johnson. “Most of us have been thinking about this project for a number of years, so I really can’t put into words how exciting this is for us.”

“We’re actually building something,” said selectboard chair Brendan Deso. “We thank the voters for passing it with such a successful margin. We’re looking forward to the ribbon-cutting ceremony in a few short months.”

Thanks were given to the construction and engineering teams scattered around the Brigham Road garage site, with Deso highlighting the construction’s local connections.

“[Mike Connor of Connor Contracting]’s actually gone out of his way to keep all of this work as local as possible, so you’ll see a lot of familiar faces on this job site and familiar names,” Deso said. “This is all our money and we’re trying to keep it in the area.”

Town staff join members of the selectboard and planning commission in breaking ground on the town’s garage. (MICHAEL FRETT, Messenger Staff)

State Sen. Corey Parent, who previously represented a part of the town in the Vermont House of Representatives before his election to the state senate, and longtime St. Albans Town Representative Lynn Dickinson were both invited to share a few words on the project.

“I didn’t have to do any work for this project except vote for it,” said Parent. “I think St. Albans Town could show Montpelier a thing or two about how the state of Vermont should be governed with investing in projects like this while keeping tax rates low.

“I’m glad we could be here to support you guys.”

“I especially want to thank the selectboards both past and present and the advisory committees, and especially the voters for approving this,” said Dickinson. “This is something we’ve been talking about for many, many years.”

Removing the town’s public works department from St. Albans Bay and moving it to a more centrally located point in the town has been a longtime goal for St. Albans Town, with officials dubbing it as a priority as early as the 2005 Town Plan.

After voters previously defeated an article approving a new town garage in 2015, a renewed push to build the garage last year resulted in another election where voters overwhelmingly approved the new garage.

While yesterday’s ceremony was heralded as a “groundbreaking ceremony” for the project, contractors had already started working on the Brigham Road site earlier this month.

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