WOODSTOCK – Vermont will flatten Suicide Six this fall and use the rocks and soil to fill the Quechee Gorge. “This multibillion dollar effort will create thousands of jobs and create new flat grounds for affordable housing,” declared Governor Scott, “and the Woodstock-Quechee area will finally be rid of any unfortunate mis-association with suicide.” The announcement, which had been expected for some weeks, was made on the steps of the mansion in the Billings-Rockefeller National Park, which is one of the parks being sold by the Trump administration to fund the “Newer Deal” infrastructure improvement effort announced late last month and dubbed ‘the mega-MAGA program’ by the President.
According to the depictions of the final result on display inside the Billings Farm park office (they will be available to the public through April 15), once the top 3000 feet of Suicide Six have been leveled and transported to fill the Quechee Gorge, there will be two flat areas turned into Levittown-like developments and Suicide Six will be renamed Tabletop Two. “That hiking trail that starts by the cemetery in Woodstock will become a through road tying the new neighborhoods to Woodstock Village,” noted Woodstock Town Manager Phil Swanson. “We’ll be looking for townspeople to send suggestions for a name, but we already have an early favorite: Suburban Byway.”
In between the two neighborhoods will be an open area suitable for a box store, presumably a Walmart. “That will likely be called Trump Plaza,” said Swanson. “The President has indicated to the Governor that he’d like to make his first trip to Vermont someplace where there would be a lot of fresh concrete, and there will be something like 500 acres of it in the middle of Tabletop Two as we currently envision it, so naming it after him is a natural. We’re hoping to have at least six fast food restaurants up and running before his visit as well. Sort of our nod to the old Suicide Six resort.”
The state had been wrestling with demands that the name of Suicide Six be changed and that the Quechee Gorge Bridge over Route 4 be turned into a concrete tube with television screens displaying the view for those unable to afford smartphones capable of running the free “Vermont Views It For You” app. “Having this project shovel-ready as a result of the $50,000 appropriation Teo Zagar sponsored into Shumlin’s final budget was an incredible boon,” said Scott. “When I met with President Trump at the Governor’s Association meeting in February, he agreed that nothing is more beautiful than tract housing and this program will bring that sorely-missing and lower-cost housing to the Quechee-Woodstock vicinity. It was a perfect project for the Mega-MAGA program.”
Another feature of the ambitious effort recognizes that with the Quechee Gorge filled to the brim with the remnants of Suicide Six, the various stores, restaurants, antique shops and vistor’s center will no longer have purpose. “That’s a lot of wonderfully flat land that is easy to build on,” noted Scott Milne, who was introduced as the Chief Overseer of the project. “We forsee turning the entire stretch of Route 4 from the flashing light in Quechee to Exit 1 into a series of cookie-cutter single-family home neighborhoods with starting prices in the low 60’s. Surely then every family making ends meet by juggling multiple seasonal jobs will be able to afford their own home, right on a main road.”
Another aspect of the plan involves increasing the height of the Hartland Dam by 205 feet, and building a new wall along the southern edge of Quechee State park to increase the capacity of the flood-stage holding area. “It may have been the need for this 30-foot high concrete wall along the border of Matt Dunne and Simon Pearce’s property in Hartland that really caught the President’s eye,” laughed Scott. “It sure caught mine. But the fact is, you fill up the Quechee Gorge after turning the bottom of the river into a big culvert pipe, and you lose some of the capacity of the Hartland Dam to hold back floodwaters. I know folks against this project tell me we can’t do this because we are depriving future generations from the astonishing sight of the Quechee Gorge filled with 100 feet of water, as it was in the days after the Irene floods, but nobody really cares about stuff like that anymore; we have our screens to entertain us. Natural phenomena are just too unpredictable and fleeting. That’s one of the reasons why Vermont just isn’t attracting people, it’s too easy to call it up on the Vermont Views It For You app when all you really want is a 5 minute break from MineCraft, not a four hour drive to a place with crappy internet.”
When asked about what is certain to be a firestorm of opposition, Scott smiled and said “For too long the ordinary working people in Vermont have had to put up with flatlanders telling them how to keep their storybook countryside pristine. But what’s really been needed is more flat land. It’s too damn expensive to build on steep slopes. And what with all the logging, blasting, trucking, grading, paving and building this project entails, we’re talking about pumping hundreds of millions of dollars through our economy over the next few years. The opposition just isn’t going to be able to turn their NIMBYism into the votes to shut it down. First off, most of them are non-residents who don’t vote. Second, a lot of them are going to skedaddle and stay back in Boston when they realize they can’t get a plumber to come for love or money until this project is done.”
Pressed for an explanation of how this would get past Act 250, the governor shook his head and said “The federal money comes with a provision via executive order that no politically-correct state environmental regulations can be used to block this effort. So Act 250 has nothing to say about it.”
Asked for comment, Peter Gregory of the Two Rivers Ottaquechee Regional Planning Commission said “I think Mr. Scott is going to find himself trumped by the Vermont Supreme Court. This is one of the most incredible moments in the history of regional planning in Vermont: we had no idea this plan was being readied for this region. We will fight it with all the resources at our disposal, which will be considerable once we let Hartford know maybe the Milne plan wasn’t so bad after all and get them back on board with us. If that doesn’t work I’m not sure we will be able to afford a lawsuit against this.”
According to the engineering schedule, the first work will start just after foliage season ends. “That’s the beginning of a slow period for a lot of folks who work multiple seasonal jobs. We’ll need thousands of people for this work at the very start, so my folks tell me that we should plan on a mid-October kickoff,” Gov. Scott concluded.