Hill Section Residents Up in Arms over Champlain College’s Construction of Mailbox | Culture | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Hill Section Residents Up in Arms over Champlain College’s Construction of Mailbox

Published October 6, 2008 at 5:29 p.m.

Author's Note: This writing is entirely satirical and is presented to note the growing disparity between a college's needs and the residential community's wishes.

Burlington, VT—Residents of Burlington’s Hill section held a meeting Tuesday night to discuss the economic and social implications of Champlain College’s construction of a three-foot-tall, one-foot wide mailbox on the intersection of Maple and South Willard streets.

Residents first voiced their concern that the construction would lead to an increase in foot and bicycle traffic, creating even more slow-moving congestion in the student and resident-filled area. Shelby Walker, a mother of three, feels like she’s “Living near a college, not in a pleasant, student-free neighborhood with gentle breezes, elementary school children riding bicycles and residents picnicking daily in the back sections of their minivans and SUVs.” Though the college had already occupied more than 30 buildings by June of 2000, when Walker purchased her house on South Willard Street, she finds it upsetting that “it just isn’t the country setting I remember when I first moved.” She continued, arguing that “things have changed and it needs to stop before it spirals out of control and people start to become irrational.”

This feud continues the battle between residents and the College. In the past residents have taken the College to the Vermont Supreme Court, and have also attempted to block the construction of residence halls, and the acquisition of new buildings. Champlain shot back at the residents' view of the mailbox in a statement by President David Finney, who remarked that “Champlain’s need to receive mail from all corners of the world is well-documented, and critical to our continuing goal of receiving letters from students, parents of students, business contacts, government agencies, scholarly journals, paychecks, and also letters from concerned residents of the community we occupy.”

Members of the community first caught wind of construction whenMaple Street resident Bobby LaClair heard hammering across from hishouse. “I looked outside and there it was! A guy in jeans and overallshammering a plank of wood into the ground and then attaching an openingand closing box to the top of the plank. And frankly, the red armthingy is an eyesore to the neighborhood. It's driving down the valueof my house. And the nerve of them building it at 1 P.M. I’m outraged.”

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