Brown Schoolhouse Bridge Q&A: General

Q1: Where is the proposed bridge replacement?

A: Along Brown Schoolhouse Road (Class 4), over the Charles Brown Brook, opposite the Parcel 5 parking area on Beaver Meadow Road, 2.4 miles from Dan & Whit’s, upstream from the former Norwich Pool. [back to list]

Q2: What will the replacement bridge connect?

A: It will connect the Lower and Upper Bill Ballard Trails as well as other trails on the west side of the brook, with Parcel 5 and other trails on the east side of the brook used by walkers, hikers, runners, mountain bikers, hunters and people fishing. [back to list]

Q3: Why should I support the replacement?

A: It’s at the hub of Norwich’s recreational trails system, which has been severed by the collapse of the former bridge in 2018. It also:

  • Is the closest point of access to Norwich’s “Grand Canyon”, making it easier for people to visit that site on the Lower and Upper Bill Ballard Trails.
  • Will be handicap-accessible with parking and allow mobility-impaired people to enjoy a beautiful spot overlooking a stream—a first for Norwich trails.
  • Will restore emergency and fire access from Beaver Meadow Road. [back to list]
Q4: How much will the replacement bridge cost?

A: The budgeted $80,000 is a guaranteed maximum. The bridge replacement will be subject to competitive bidding and a selection made, based on the best combination of utility and durability per unit of cost from the bids received. [back to list]

Q5: Why does the bridge cost that much?

A: When the old bridge collapsed, the stream banks were pulled back. In order to restore a reasonable 40-foot span, concrete abutments need to be built, accounting for about $33K of the cost; the span costs about $35K; engineering and permitting account for the rest. [back to list]

Q6: How much will the replacement bridge cost me?

A: We have applied for a Vermont Recreational Trails Program grant to offset $50,000 of the cost. With those funds available, a $500-K property would contribute $20 in taxes just once—about the cost of a large pizza. Absent receiving the grant, the same property would contribute $12 per year in taxes over a five-year loan period—about the cost of a small pizza each of those years. [back to list]

Q7: Why is my vote needed?

A: Your vote will show community support necessary for the state board to approve the Recreational Trails Program grant funds. Receipt of the grant funds will open the door to other matching grants that further offset costs to taxpayers. [back to list]

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