November 16, 2021 — Paul Hayes, reporter for the Caledonian Record, is reporting that the Town of Lyndon is showing interest in the privately owned Sanborn covered bridge. The following is the article from the November 16, 2021 edition and is reprinted with the permission of the Caledonian Record.
LYNDON - The Select Board has expressed interest in acquiring the Sanborn Bridge.
Last week they directed Planning Administrator Nicole Gratton to contact bridge owners, Arthur and Jeanne Elliott, and gather more information on purchasing the historic span.
Why buy the bridge? It would boost a grassroots effort to turn the town’s five covered bridges into economic engines.
That initiative - led by Gratton and Sarah Lafferty, the president of the Lyndon Area Chamber of Commerce — would promote and preserve the historic spans. Through a lot of work and some creative thinking, they believe the bridges can help to reinvigorate tourism and culture.
The Sanborn Bridge is key to those plans, Gratton said.
Located downtown and closed to traffic, the Sanborn could be paired with parking, retail, tourism info and pedestrian amenities.
In addition to being noteworthy — it’s one of the last Paddleford truss bridges in the Twin States — it can be accessed through municipal land. The town owns .86 acres to the south of the bridge.
Permissions have been granted to remove a tree next to the bridge, to prevent damage and improve visibility.
Acquiring the Sanborn Bridge would be part of a larger effort.
Gratton and Lafferty are in the process of collecting information and seeking out grant funding to address the five bridges (Chamberlain, Miller’s Run, Randall, Schoolhouse and Sanborn). It’s the second most-covered bridges in a Vermont community after Montgomery, which has six.
The Chamber of Commerce has commissioned a study to determine the structural needs of the five bridges.
Meanwhile there are multiple grants in play.
The Kingdom Trails Association recently awarded a $2,500 mini-grant to paint Schoolhouse bridge, place holiday wreaths on all bridges, and install interpretive signage at Miller’s Run, Schoolhouse and Sanborn Bridge.
Meanwhile, Gratton is preparing grant applications for a Vermont Arts Council “Animating Infrastructure Grant” (up to $15,000) to support an art installation at Schoolhouse Bridge, and the Preservation Trust of Vermont’s “Bruhn Revitalization Grants” (increments of $50,000 and $100,000) to address Sanborn Bridge.
The Preservation Trust of Vermont could also provide funding through the Freeman Foundation (up to $50,000). Those funds are awarded and no application is required.
What’s more, the Chamberlain Bridge is monitored by VTrans and improvements may eventually be funded through the Town Highway Bridge Program, which would require a 10 percent local match with no project cap. The town will reach out to VTrans to determine if the bridge is on the state’s project list.
Editors note: Our thanks to Dana Gray, Executive Editor of the Caledonian Record for granting permission to republish this article.