The Winston Prouty Center is embarking on project to building housing on it’s 180 acre campus to be a part of the solution to the housing crisis our community is facing. The ultimate outcome of this project to develop up to 300 units of diverse housing. The goal is to create a neighborhood that reflects all the different kinds of people and needs that exist in the community. This includes multiple types of housing, from apartments to condos to duplexes, in a variety of structures. It will be affordable for many, not just those who are the lowest income brackets. An inclusive community is ultimately healthier for all.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will you do to address increased traffic volume from residents living on campus on Maple Street through to Fairview Street and Guilford Street Extension?
Traffic-related impacts have surfaced as the primary concern we hear about this project. We understand that this is an important concern for neighbors and plan to both study and mitigate these impacts. To start we are currently working in four ways:
- We plan to hire a consultant to complete a traffic study to better understand the current traffic conditions and to be able to better project the future traffic conditions.
- We understand that some of the current concern with traffic is related to vehicle speed. We are developing a conceptual plan for roadway improvements that will look to slow traffic and increase safety.
- We are working closely with the Town of Brattleboro to see how we might coordinate with existing efforts the Town is taking to calm traffic. We also plan to discuss our project with the Traffic Safety and Control Committee.
- We continue to look at ways that we can reduce the need for vehicles and vehicle trips through the design of our project, these include: bike and pedestrian connections, access to transit, and providing access to ride sharing and car sharing.
How will you address local traffic speed?
If you’ve reviewed our conceptual design, you may have noted that we are proposing a change to the intersection of Maple Street and Austine Drive. We would like to create a three-way intersection with stop signs near the end of our current driveway, especially if we get some experts to agree that this is a good idea. Our hope is to slow traffic and increase safety at what is already a tough intersection.
We are currently studying other measures in the design of neighborhood roads that will help reduce speed. This is often referred to as “traffic calming”, “road diet”, or “increasing friction”. Here are a few related web resources to explore (with many links to other information at the bottom). The Town of Brattleboro has some improvements currently underway at Fairview St and Maple St and the town has secured funding to assess the Canal Street corridor which will include the south end of Maple Street. We will coordinate with the Town on these and other similar projects.
Will the trails continue to be accessible to the public?
Absolutely! The trail system on campus is available to the public from dawn until dusk and we have no intention of changing that. The campus is the vibrant place it is today because of the variety of uses it has. The current conceptual design shows infill development intentionally in-order to protect the green space we value.
Are you going to remove a large number of trees on the campus? What about the impact on wildlife?
Some trees will inevitably need to be removed or relocated as a part of this project but our goal is to limit the environmental impact as much as possible. Our plan for infill-development within the existing campus area will allow us to maintain our woodlands and their benefits to those working and living on campus.
We have also mapped our wetlands and will be protecting those spaces properly. While some wildlife may deem increased activity on campus as unappealing, with 184 acres of land and surrounding woods and greenspace, we believe they’ll have plenty of space to continue to enjoy the campus.
How are you planning to address expanded parking needs?
Some of the large buildings in the conceptual design show connections to parking beneath buildings so we’ll be exploring the feasibility of that as an option, especially for residential parking. We will also need to meet the Town’s parking requirements for parking. In addition, we hope to develop in a way that encourages walking, use of bicycles, and public transportation – so that the campus isn’t overly “car heavy”.
If you build a parking garage, how will you ensure safety?
As a private entity on private property, we’ll have the ability to control activity and coming and going on our campus. We imagine parking will have some level of electronic access required for entry (swipe card, code, etc.).
Will you be moving forward with the current aesthetic look of the new buildings?
We appreciate how the current design honors the slope of the land and how it tucks into the wooded areas of the campus and honors our magnificent views of our town, Wantastiquet, and our northern view of the CT river valley. What the buildings will look like going forward is yet to be clearly determined. We hope for a sustainable, efficient, and forward-thinking building design that fits our campus, neighborhood, and community. Renderings of the smaller homes and townhouse/apartment/condo spaces closer to Maple Street are forthcoming. Our goal will be to fit them into the character of the current neighborhood.
Will you pay property taxes?
Winston Prouty currently pays just under $55,000 per year in property taxes. While this is discounted based on total land value, we have added just about that amount annually to the town tax roll since our purchase of the campus in 2016. The tax structure for the campus into the future will be determined by the Town of Brattleboro and we’ll have to work through the same procedures for approval as any other development would need to.
When do you expect construction to start? What will be built first?
We are currently working through some financial models to identify where it makes most sense to start the project. If we do remove Croker Hall, Hammond Dorm, and Heinz Dorm, our goal would be to first build spaces for those tenants to go to before we remove their buildings. So, constructing something will come before significant demolition. We might also consider building the recreation space as the heavily used Croker gym will be impacted if we take that building down.
Our goal is to have construction started in a year and it’s going to take a lot of money, that we don’t currently have on hand, to make that happen! Conversations are underway about development partnership opportunities and part of the funding will likely come from private equity. Know someone who’s looking to invest in a project like ours that might be ok with a long-term yield? Please help make the connection! We hope to receive financial support from the State of Vermont as well as federal programs.
Are you really listening to feedback from campus tenants, neighbors, and the community?
We took a leap of faith in 2016 when we bought this campus, and we aren’t sure we could have imagined the vibrant and supportive campus community that has been created in this beautiful place. We are grateful daily for what’s been built here, and we feel like we had just a part in making it all happen. We wouldn’t be able to dream about what’s possible and start to take action if we didn’t receive the support we have to get us this far.
Honoring our Prouty values of Inclusion, Learning, Collaboration, and Persistence, we feel we must continue to offer the campus as a community asset and we are committed to moving forward thoughtfully, with our values as our guardrails, and while honoring all constructive input. It’ll be impossible to make everyone happy on this journey though it’s certainly our way to try.
Development Project Prospectus
Draft prospectus outlining background, site details, goals, costs and timeline. Prepared by Mark Westa, Environmental Design and Research.
In the News
Strolling of the Heifers ends, funds disbursed to area organizations
December 30, 2022, By Bob Audette, Brattleboro Reformer
BRATTLEBORO — There will be no more heifers strolling down Main Street, at least not as part of the annual Strolling of the Heifers parade.
On Friday morning, Orly Munzing, who founded the event in 2000, announced the Strolling of the Heifers had disbursed its remaining funds to the Winston Prouty Center, the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance and the Agritech Institute for Small Farms.
The DBA received $25,000, Winston Prouty received $175,000, and the AgriTech Institute received $250,000. Continue reading
Master plan eyes ‘neighborhood’ of housing at Winston Prouty Center
October 17, 2022, By Chris Mays, Brattleboro Reformer
BRATTLEBORO — A plan is being developed to transform part of the Winston Prouty Center for Child Family Development campus into as many as 300 housing units.
“We’re pushing forward with it,” said Chloe Learey, executive director at the Winston Prouty Center. “Master planning is really that process of going through what are all the things we would want and what fits and what’s on the landscape and where are the wetlands and how much is it going to cost?” The focus of the plan, which Learey hopes to complete in April, is on the main part of campus rather than out in the wooded areas. She said the infrastructure is already in place and would need to be upgraded to accommodate the new units. Continue reading
Initiative explores housing on Prouty, Delta campuses
May 10, 2022, By Chris Mays, Brattleboro Reformer
BRATTLEBORO — A project combining the powers of two neighboring campuses envisions adding hundreds of housing units to their properties.
“It’s not just affordable housing or low-income housing,” said Chloe Learey, executive director of the Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development. “It has to be meeting a lot of different kinds of housing and our goal for making it be walkable, bikeable and sustainable in lots of other ways, and encourage other development.”
At the Select Board meeting last Tuesday, Learey outlined initial steps being taken to bring new housing between the Prouty center and Delta Vermont campuses in a project dubbed the Prouty Delta Development Initiative. She encouraged people to reach out to her if they have ideas or want to point out resources. Continue reading
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