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New beginning for Vt. state office complex hit by Irene - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New beginning for Vt. state office complex hit by Irene

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WATERBURY, Vt. - There was a groundbreaking on Vermont's largest ever capital project Tuesday. It's a new state office complex to replace the nearly 20 buildings destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

Construction crews have cleared the way and this time officials say the complex will able to hold its own against future floods.

"Rebuilding after Irene stronger and better than the way she found," said Governor Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.

In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, more than 1,000 workers were displaced from Waterbury due to flood damage. Buildings in the Waterbury State Office complex were left damaged beyond repair.

"We're taking out 19 buildings, we've taken 16 out already and coming back with renovated historic space as well as beautifully designed new space," said Shumlin.

About $125 million in federal and state money is going toward rebuilding the Waterbury State Office Complex. Improvements to the new complex include building above flood level, so it will be better suited to stand next to the Winooski River.

"The basement level of the existing facility will be filled with a waterproofing concrete," said Jay Fayette from PC Construction.

State employees who used to work in Waterbury are working in other areas of Vermont for now. Once the Waterbury State Office Complex is built most of those workers will return. Business owners in the area say they're looking forward to it.

"We had a pretty significant drop of around 24 percent in our business, which we're hoping when the complex comes back it will bring that business back for us," said Bill Hannon from Hannon Home Center.

Workers who used to eat and shop in Waterbury will be spending their money once again, when construction of the new complex is finished by spring of 2016. Hannon looks forward to hiring more employees and growing his business after nearly three years of struggling.

"Waterbury's going to come back and come back really strong, and we're happy for it," said Hannon.

The $125 million Waterbury state office project will be built with $31.5 million in federal funds, $75.4 million in state funds and $18.1 million from insurance.
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