Mike Messier says after 35 years of work, he was finally able to build his dream home and raise a family on Combination Pond in Rutland.
"The reason that I live in Vermont is for a location like this," he said. "Because this is what differentiates Vermont from a lot of places you can live."
Messier says the pond is the center of the neighborhood. Fishing, swimming, ice skating, hockey-- you name it, he says it happens at the pond. But this pond may soon be gone. The water quality of Moonbrook Watershed has come under scrutiny by the EPA in the last decade. The state says stormwater runoff throughout the city is the problem, but the city says water temperature is the culprit.
"The increased water temperature is simply too hot for the types of bugs and fish to live there that the state and the feds say need to be there," Rutland City Mayor Chris Louras said.
Louras says Combination Pond is one of two bodies of water that run into the watershed. He says the still waters of the pond act as a solar panel and ultimately heat the rivers downstream.
"The problem that we see is that we believe the pond is killing the stream, and that if it isn't addressed, the stream is going to kill the city. At least from a standpoint of a regulatory or financial requirements that will be imposed on us," said Jeff Wennberg, the commissioner of Rutland Public Works.
Those financial requirements could be upward of $40 million in public and private investments. The EPA was seeking to require the city to ramp up its stormwater runoff mitigations until Rutland sued the state. A settlement on Wednesday morning will allow for a third party to reassess the cause of the pollution. But regardless, the mayor says the pond has to go.
"And we feel that putting $25 million-$40 million worth of public and private investments is a waste of money. And in order to avoid that, we will have to remove the pond," Louras said.
The settlement means the city and state will work toward transforming the manmade pond back into a stream, letting the water out slowly.
For Messier, he says he can't imagine life there without it and believes it would be a huge hit on property values.
"People that live in some of the homes up here suggest that the average home would depreciate or lose market value of $100,000 or more-- per home," he said. "And there are 70 homes that have deeded rights to use and enjoy this pond."
Messier says the neighborhood will fight to keep the pond.
Tuesday, December 10 2013 6:13 PM EST2013-12-10 23:13:33 GMT
"Today I am proud to launch Connect Vermont, an initiative to deliver by 2013 my promise of high-speed internet access and cell service to every corner of our state," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont,More >>
In a few weeks, Gov. Peter Shumlin will become the second Vermont governor to fall short on a pledge to bring cellphone and high-speed internet access to every Vermonter that wants it. What's the next step to connect the state? More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 5:57 PM EST2013-12-10 22:57:37 GMT
Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, has been re-elected as the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. The DGA held its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Monday, where the governor was uncontestedMore >>
Vt. Gov. Peter Shumlin has been re-elected as the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 5:06 PM EST2013-12-10 22:06:12 GMT
Vermonters who didn't pay ticket prices of up to $10,000 to hear New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speak during an upcoming visit likely won't get to hear him via the media.More >>
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie will make a stop in Vermont Wednesday to address nearly 700 Republican Party members. The Essex Jct. event is sold out, but there aren't any media outlets on the guest list. Melissa Howell explains why.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 6:10 PM EST2013-12-10 23:10:24 GMT
When Vermont received an F from the Center For Public Integrity for financial disclosure requirements for state Supreme Court justices, it didn't ruffle too many feathers. "We weren't surprised by theMore >>
Vermont was one of many states that received a failing grade for what is required for financial disclosure for state Supreme Court justices. Some civil rights organizations say it's just a small part of an even bigger problem for the state.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 11:41 AM EST2013-12-10 16:41:55 GMT
St. Albans police are on the hunt for an armed robber who targeted a convenience store. Police say at about 9:45 p.m. Monday, a man entered the South Main Grocery and displayed a weapon. He left the storeMore >>
St. Albans police are on the hunt for an armed robber who targeted a convenience store.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 3:28 PM EST2013-12-10 20:28:00 GMT
Fast food and quick cash? Police say a couple targeted McDonald's in Morrisville Monday night. Investigators say David McNab, 25, and Anna Gilchrist, 23, tried to rob the restaurant at about 9 p.m. TheirMore >>
Police say a man and woman face tried to rob the McDonald's in Morrisville Monday night.More >>