Dorset board considers Raptor land

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DORSET — Christmas came early for the Town of Dorset when it was gifted 300 acres of land off Route 30 for a token payment and Tuesday evening the town Select Board began the discussion of how to best use the Raptor Land site.

Board members and town residents in attendance agreed that taking the time to settle on a long-term plan for the property was better than rushing into any decisions.

Board member Jack Stannard, who said he's served at least 15 terms on the Dorset Select Board, emphasized the importance of doing it right.

"I've been around here for a long time," Stannard said. "This is the most wonderful opportunity for this town and we don't want to muck it up."

Town Manager Rob Gaiotti said one of the early thoughts on the property is as a location for a new town office building and perhaps even a town municipal complex.

The town office hasn't been updated in about three decades and is showing its age. It's not fully ADA compliant and is small limiting its use.

Board chairman Henry Chandler pointed out that the town had looked into the cost to renovate the office and the price tag came in at about $500,000.

A new building in that location would also be closer to the bulk of Dorset's population.

Gaiotti pointed out that the fire station is also a little long in the tooth and limited in space, making. A new emergency services building could be located near a new town office building centralizing town services.

An engineering survey, which should be completed by late winter to early spring, is underway.

"That would allow us to maybe look more deeply at some of the options," Gaiotti said. "The nice thing is it belongs to the town now.

Other ideas including a trail network, housing

developments, and more.

Discussion turned to creating a committee to study the issues and the make-up of the group. While no decisions were made, board members were sent home to come back with ideas on creating the committee and what direction they would be tasked with.

Contact Darren at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.

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