Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate were at the state’s flooded-out Waterbury office complex this morning to announce funding to begin demolition of buildings that will allow reconstruction of the complex.
The Winooski River flooded the Waterbury Office complex when Tropical Storm Irene rammed through the state two years ago. Some 1,500 employees were forced to relocate. In the two years since, a redesign plan for the complex has been completed.
A majority of the buildings must be demolished. Standing in front of one of the oldest buildings on the grounds, Governor Peter Shumlin announced that funding is forthcoming from FEMA that will fulfil state officials’ promise to rebuild the complex.
Senator Patrick Leahy recalled that his parents owned the Waterbury Record before he was born, and his wife once trained at the state hospital that flooded during the storm.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate emphasized that the overall goal is to rebuild better in the face of climate change.
After the speeches, the officials and observers gathered by the construction fence to watch the governor, senator and administrator signal construction workers to begin demolition.
Vermont Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott.
Reconstruction will preserve the historic nature of the 13 core buildings that will remain. They will be elevated above the 500-year flood level and will be energy efficient. Nineteen buildings will be removed. About 1,200 employees are expected to return to the complex in late 2015.