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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Green Mountain Park Plans Defined

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Friday, July 01, 2005

Could the Green Mountain Park become a gateway to many opportunities?
Pownal, Vt. – Green Mountain Park development plans first described in November and December were brought to a more defined focus during a June 30 meeting by Richard F. Hein, one of the four partners who formed Progress Partners Ltd. and purchased the former horse and dog racing track last fall.

Partnership principal James Paqua was present at the meeting.

Funding from a $30,000 Vermont Community Development agency grant that is overseen by the Bennington County Industrial Corp. was used to finance the presentation.

During a December press conference held at the 144-acre property, Hein and partner James Paqua described their interest in bringing a made-in -Vermont-style venue, residential housing, equine opportunities, and commercial uses to the site.

On Thursday, Hein demonstrated a tangible vision of what is planned for the site.

According to Hein, unidentified hotel and supermarket corporations have made inquiries about the property, and a twist on seasonal farmer’s markets could keep customers coming to the site for fresh products all year long.

Hein told about 65 town residents at the meeting that the property is able to offer an outdoor farmer’s market during the warm-weather months and an indoor market venue during the chill winter season.

A “venture kitchen” would be part of the market plan and permit area farmers and others to offer instruction sessions rooted in food and food preparation.

A housing proposal is nearly all-inclusive and includes a 148-unit building with a swimming pool, health club, and restaurants targeting senior citizens able to live independently, a 40-unit structure focused on assisted living residents and another 40-unit facility that would offer long-term care. Sandy Zimmerman, identified as a “co-developer” with the Progress Partners group, talked about the potential for creating an Oasis Learning Center, an entity that focuses on senior citizens and the arts.

Another proposed housing section would host about 200 rental dwellings geared toward the younger people in professional careers, graduate students, and others.

Housing commonly referred to as “affordable” or government subsidized housing has no place in the plan, but private houses and townhouses with price tags of about $200,000 are part of the vast development at the site.

Space for a “great lawn” that would host festivals, fairs and other events was described, as was a plan to develop a permanent “world class equestrian facility” at the property. A bridle path and horse show areas also remain part of the package discussed at the time of the purchase. Plans also call for the horse/dog-racing track to be converted into a quarter-mile running track for joggers or runners.


One of two railraod crossings that cut between Route 7 and the Green Mountain Park entrances.
Issues involving two active Guilford Transportation railroad crossings that snake across both property entrances are close to being resolved, according to Hein. Those issues had played a large role in sinking previous property sales negotiations.

The proposed project lacks a development time schedule and those involved said the process would take years to unfold. Challenges involving the property sewer system and a change in the property’s permitted use status are among the many issues still facing the proposed project.

Town selectmen, state Rep. Bill Botzow D-Pownal/Woodford and Bennington County Industrial Corp. Executive Director Peter Odierna were among those who listened to the presentation. The Progress Partners principals are Hein, an architect affiliated with Richard F. Hein P.C. Architects and Associates, residential builder James Paqua, Hein’s brother Robert Hein, a well-known film industry sound professional and financial professional Steven Sonnenblick.

The partnership purchased the property in December for $1 million from John C. Tiegtens of Clarksburg. Tiegtens bought the property at auction in 1993 for $250,000. The site opened during the early 1960s as a horse-racing track. In 1977, greyhound racing replaced horse racing and the dogs ran at the site until the property closed in 1991. Shriner’s Bingo games have been held at the property – one such game is scheduled for Aug. 13 at the site- and other major events held on the property since it closed to racing include a 1996 Lollapalooza music event, a rodeo, and the Pownal community fair.

Progress Partners has established an Internet Web site, www.progresspartnersvt.com.

Susan Bush may be reached at 802-823-9367 or by e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net.
Your Comments
Post Comment
IT WOULD BE IDIOTIC TO BUILD HOUSE'S THERE..
I REMEMBER THE YEAR THEY HAD HEAVY RAIN IN THE AREA, AND THERE WAS THREE FEET OF WATER AT THE STABLE GATE..THEY WERE WARNING THAT SOME DAM MIGHT GIVE WAY,AND THE FLOOD WATER'S COULD BE OVER THE TOPS OF THE BARNS.
from: THOMAS SMITHon: 06-07 00:00:00-2008

I just wish you cold try to save the racing. I fee lthat with the re-opening of the track you could bring a lot of new jobs for people who I am sure could use it, and all the tourist that would be attracted to the track once again. Who needs more condominiums anyways??
from: Seanon: 08-12 00:00:00-2007


 
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