The Barton Hydro Re-examination Committee
Fall 2014 is a group of volunteer citizens including:
Ed Helm, Chair
We are a group of citizens from Barton Vermont and the Barton area who have stepped forward to explore whether micro and/or small hydro power at Crystal Lake Falls is an economically feasible resource and if it is, what would be the best way to develop this resource to benefit ourselves and our fellow citizens?
Numerous explorations (1984, ’85; c.’92; c. 2006) have asked this question since hydropower was last utilized at Crystal Lake Falls during WWII (see: Richard Creaser’s article in The Barton Chronicle: “Barton Village Examines New Hydro Options). At a Village Meeting in 2013, Village resident Gordon Barber distributed a resolution supporting a new look at this question. It was discussed but no action was adopted, one way or another.
On June 13, 2013, a Resolution was presented to Barton Trustees David White (Chair), “Chipper” Ellis, and Todd Bellevance. With Trustee White’s leadership and support, a decision was made to form a Barton Hydro Re-Examination Committee (BHREC) with Village Administrator Brian Hanson and Barton Town resident, Ed Helm as Co-Chairs. They were charged to form a committee of interested citizens, review and update as best they could, a 1985 129 page Study (copy can be found here), and report their findings in the Fall to the Trustees. Citizens secured this 1985 Study from the History Museum archives when it could not be found in Village files. They duplicated it for the Trustees, made it available electronically for those interested and arranged with the Barton Library to have it available to the interested public there.
The BHREC held public meetings (July 15, 2013 (30+ attendance); August 19, 2013 (15 people attending); Sept. 5, 2013 (tour of W. Charleston Hydro facility—16 people attending); and Sept. 16, 2013 (23 people attending) with site tour and four Vermont Officials including Ann Margolis, Jeff Crocker, Rod Wentworth (ANR) and Scott Dillan (Historic Preservation). Additionally, State Representatives, notably Sam Young and Vicki Strong, Senator Rodgers as well as staff members from Vermont’s Congressional Delegation, notably Senator Sanders Office, have attended a number these events. BHREC grew to 25 citizens. At the first meeting there was more than two times as many people attending as had attended the 2013 Village Meeting.
An application was filed with State of Vermont for a Municipal Planning Grant (MPG) in the Fall of 2013. The MPG application included funds for Glover to pursue flood hazard studies as well as updating Barton’s previous hydro examinations at Crystal Lake Falls.
Some initial findings of the BHREC were reported to Barton Trustees in October 2013 with a request that the Trustees extend the Committee pending a decision on the MPG application and if successful, extended to the end of the MPG project deadline.
The MPG was awarded in December 2013 by the Vermont Department of Housing & Community Development for $21,127 in State Funds ($24,190 total includes $3063 in required Village matching funds. These matching funds are still being raised independently of budgeted Village funds.) The Administrator of this MPG is Ed Helm who serves as Chair of the BHREC.
In June 2014, a summary of these events was reported to new Trustees Nathan Sicard and David Snedeker and Todd Bellevance. The BHREC was re-approved. Work on fulfilling the MPG and citizen education through the BHREC continues. The Grant ends May 18, 2015 and all work under the MPG is intended to be complete by then. Additional information can be found in the copy of the MPG application. Those interested in associating with the BHREC are invited to express their interest indicating how much time they might be able to commit to the work of the Committee to: [email protected].