North Bennington trustees appoint DRB member, discuss VAE community project

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NORTH BENNINGTON >> The Village Trustees last week appointed a new member to the village's Development Review Board and discussed a new project with the Vermont Arts Exchange.

Board chairman Matthew Patterson had said in October that he identified a candidate for the open DRB position. However, he reported Tuesday the candidate decided they would prefer to run for a spot on the Board of Trustees. Instead, Dennis McCarthy, the new town auditor, volunteered to resign from his current position and accept a spot on the DRB.

McCarthy was chairman of the Shaftsbury Select Board for 11 years before spending five years as the town's first town administrator. He became Winhall's town administrator in 2003 and stayed there until he retired in 2013. He grew up in North Bennington and attended the College of St. Joseph in Bennington, the predecessor to Southern Vermont College. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Navy, and operated a plumbing business in the area for many years. He currently serves as vice-chairman of the Shaftsbury Veterans Committee. Upon his retirement from the Winhall position, the Vermont House of Representatives signed a resolution honoring him for his public service career.

The village must now fill two open auditor positions, rather than just one.

In other business, Matthew Perry of the VAE and a sixth grader from the Village School of North Bennington came before the board to present an idea for a project to visually and functionally improve the community. Perry said the VAE and the sixth grade were working in tandem on the project.

"The objective and the goal," explained Perry, "is to observe the natural and the urban landscape of our school and our community; to identify issues, challenges, or situations that may (be) negative or visually unappealing; to address these challenges by smart design and creating collaboration with the property owner; to embellish, enhance, or build to transform something ugly into something beautiful; to give function to something non-functional; to showcase the creativity of our younger residents who show pride in their community."

One example they gave was an ugly cement lid that is covering a pump on the school grounds. Perry suggested that, instead, a removable wooden gameboard could be installed to cover up the cement lid, and also provide function for community members interested in a game of chess or checkers. If the project goes well, Perry said, each year's sixth grade class could continue the tradition of beautifying the village.

"It's a fantastic idea," said Patterson.

The North Bennington Village Trustees meet the first Tuesday after the first Wednesday of every month at the train station on Depot Street. Full recordings of their meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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