BY ANGELO LYNN
PROCTOR — The Proctor selectboard gave unanimous support to Zion Growers for a $60,000 Vermont Community Development Program planning grant to assess how they can best use the former Proctor Marble building at 51 Main Street for its commercial hemp manufacturing operation, as well as provide space for other commercial entities, including revitalizing the Vermont Marble Museum.
The first part of Monday night’s meeting was devoted to a public hearing on the grant, but other than a short presentation by co-owner Travis Samuels, there were few questions presented and no opposition to the grant application, or to the proposed use of the building.
In a previously drafted needs assessment for the grant, and for that building, Town Manager Michael Ramsey summed up the current effort that’s underway as follows:
“Zion Growers, an industrial hemp processing company, has taken a serious interest in the property and has a vision for its use that mirrors the economic development goals listed in the town’s Municipal and Prosperity Plan. The company recently purchased what is commonly known as the “Ide” building in St. Johnsbury, which will be redeveloped and will act as a sister location to the future hemp processing facility in Proctor.
“Becoming aware of a partnership opportunity, Proctor town officials began working with the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the Chamber and Economic Development of the Rutland Region, the Rutland Regional Planning Commission and Zion Growers to spark community and stakeholder interest towards the potential transfer and future use of the Marble Company building as a hub for light industrial manufacturing, including hemp processing and a home for existing tenants…. The town will continue to work with local and regional stakeholders to produce a site feasibility study, architectural/engineering plans, code compliance review, and an environmental analysis for light industrial use activities at the former Marble Company building.”
The VCDP grant will get that process underway. After the presentation by Samuels, the selectboard passed a motion in support of the grant application and of its role as a municipal sponsor in support of the project.
In a brief manager’s report, Ramsey noted that the town was awarded grants from the Mortimer Proctor Fund to finance the following: An extension to the existing dock at beaver pond; equipment for Olympus Pool; American Legion Grave Markers; and help for the town to host concerts in the park and have fireworks on the 4th of July.
The total award amount was $14,389.62. The town was also given the chance to justify its request to fund the construction of a playground at the rink at a projected cost of about $47,000. To that end, the Parks & Rec committee held a work session last week, and a final proposal will be submitted to the Mortimer Proctor fund by April 15.
Ramsey reported, among other items, that wires down on Maple Street were repaired, the town is still searching for a zoning administrator and summer pool director, there’s a position open on the town planning commission and that repairs to the slate roof on the town hall were being pursued.
In other business, the selectboard:
• Heard a report on the town’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan from Steffanie Bourque, who reported that the plan was in draft form and not far from being finalized. She praised the seven-member town committee who spearheaded the effort.
Bourque said the group had “done a lot of work” that resulted in an “impressive” plan. The seven members on that committee were: Kevin Blongy, Emergency Management Coordinator; John Corliss, Public Works Foreman; Ben Curtis, Proctor Selectboard; Tom Doty, Proctor Planning Commission; Lisa Miser, Proctor Free Library/Proctor Schoolboard; Michael Ramsey, Town Manager/Emergency Management Director; and Josh Webb, Proctor Fire Chief.
• Appointed Matt Parker to a two-year term on the Parks and Rec committee;
• Appointed Josh Webb to a two-year term as the town’s 911 coordinator;
• Appointed Kevin Blongy to a two-year term as Emergency Management coordinator.
• Under Good Stuff, Judy Frazier gave a shout out to local resident Bob Protivansky for an award he received at the Rutland Waste Water Treatment plant; and Lisa Miser noted that a couple former Proctor softball players were doing well playing for the Castleton University softball team.