Notice that we have finished putting in the native plants in the town center. Again, we have put in plugs that will take two years to reach maturity. Like all good things, they will take a little time.
Last night, at the Board of Finance and the Board of Selectman meetings, we discussed the withdrawal of the application of the Falls Village Housing Trust to construct transitional or ladder housing units on River Road. The term ‘transitional or ladder’ housing is a much more applicable description of what the FVHT is proposing. The experience in Litchfield, Kent and Salisbury shows that a large part of those who move into the communities they have built tend to stay in the town where they originally rented and move on to buying homes in the area. Their decision to withdraw the application reflects their willingness to listen to the community, review their plans and consider options that might be more welcomed by all community members. They maintain their commitment to building such a project within Falls Village as soon as possible.
In leading to this end, we have decided to have an open forum for the community later this year, probably in Mid-September, to more carefully outline the driving factors that drive our consensus that this is one important tool in making sure that our town is sustainable for our children and grand-children. Presentations will be made by the town on our overall approach to sustainable development and to also give the FVHT a chance to explain their mission and how they plan to accomplish it. Ample time will be allowed for community questions and comments. The goal of all of us is to maintain the character of the town through activities that will ensure its long-term sustainability. More information about this will be forthcoming.
Another tool which the Board of Selectmen is pursuing is the development of Gig-speed internet services for the town. We believe that is critically important for the future of our village. Note that the Northwest Hills Council of Government has set this as the number one goal for our area. Last night, we took the first step by approving a Quickstart agreement with a Minnesota based firm, costing about $1200, to get a clear idea of the cost of constructing this infrastructure in our town. This is only the first small step in moving this forward for our village. We estimate that the course we are taking will take at least 9 months before we will be in a position to make decisions about its economic feasibility. It would then be presented to the town. Nothing will come to fruition until we are absolutely sure that it is self-funding and economically viable. It also would have to be approved by a town meeting.
Our town has done a lot of very good, thoughtful planning. We consider it is our job, as Selectmen, to start implementing these plans. The beautification of our town center was a vital first step. Now, we have to use that as a basis for revitalizing our town center in a meaningful way. This is the another one of the key components of making our village vital and sustainable for the future.
The median age of our town is tending higher. We have to find ways to attract young families that will keep our village vibrant. They will support Kellogg school, our Falls Village Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Corps.
The building that Bunny Williams is renovating in the town center is really taking shape. Already, even before opening, is making the center of town a much more attractive place. Some cosmetic work is being done on the Center on Main that will improve its look. These are steps both big and small. Over time, these will lead us to a brighter future.