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Community Process to Set Direction for the future of Rockingham

On December 4th, all members of the Rockingham community are invited to kick off Let’s Take Action: A community process to engage all residents of Rockingham, Bellows Falls, and Saxtons River in setting direction for a vibrant, prosperous, and dynamic future. This process is a practical, pragmatic, and facilitated way for residents to actively participate in reviewing challenges and opportunities facing the community, identify top priorities for action, and develop concrete action plans. This will also be an opportunity to bring both technical and financial resources to Rockingham to move priorities forward.

This first step in the Let’s Take Action Process will be a series of community forums to discuss assets, challenges, and opportunities for action within 9 focus forums being held throughout the day. Everyone is invited to join in on December 4th to share your ideas in forums on 9 different topics, chosen by a steering committee representing people from varied occupations and parts of town, including: Tourism & Lodging; Transportation; Attracting & Supporting Young People; Education: From Early Childhood to Workforce; Building Redevelopment; Arts & Entertainment; Economic Revitalization & Infrastructure; Housing; and Recreation. Forums will take place at the American Legion, Rockingham Free Library, and the Moose Family Center.

At 6pm, everyone is invited to a FREE community dinner at the Moose Family Center. Childcare will be provided at the library during the forums. Door-to-door transportation is available to forums by request. Call 888-869-6287 by Dec. 2nd to reserve a ride.

Step 2 of Let’s Take Action will be a Community Meeting in January when all residents will be invited to champion action ideas, set priorities, and have the option to sign up for task forces to take on each priority initiative. VCRD will return in February for Step 3, Let’s Take Action Resource Day, with a visiting resource team of Vermont leaders to help support the work of the new task forces with technical and financial resources as they create action plans to move their priorities forward.

Rockingham Municipal Manager Wendy Harrison invites all to participate saying, “I am looking forward to hearing all of the ideas from the community. Please join us – everyone is welcome to share your ideas for our community’s future! This is a great opportunity to develop a vision and chart a path forward together.”

The process is produced by VCRD, who was invited to the community by the Rockingham Selectboard and Bellows Falls Trustees, in partnership with the Vermont Community Foundation. VCRD is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the advancement of Vermont communities. In the past 20 years, they have worked with over 70 communities throughout Vermont to bring residents together through their facilitated and structured process to share ideas and move toward common solutions. VCRD Community and Policy Manager Jenna Koloski says, “VCRD is excited about working with Rockingham residents to set and advance priorities for the future. We believe strongly in the power of local leadership and in engaging the full voice of the community in setting direction forward. Everyone in the community is invited to share their ideas and we’re eager to help connect to support and resources to help the community move forward.”

Let’s Take Action: Rockingham Community Visit is funded with support from the Vermont Community Foundation and the Northern Borders Regional Commission.

VCRD will bring with them a Visiting Team of more than 20 Vermont state, federal, business, non-profit, and philanthropic leaders to listen to and reflect on the challenges and opportunities for action that residents identify. The Visiting Team members will include Ben Doyle, USDA Rural Development; Kevin Wiberg, Vermont Community Foundation; Lindsey Kurrle, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development; Aly Richards, CEO of Let’s Grow Kids; Xusana Davis, Vermont Director of Racial Equity; Chris Campany, Windham Regional Commission; Gary Holloway, Vermont Dept. of Housing and Community Development; Erica Campbell, Office of Senator Sanders; Karen Mittelman, Vermont Arts Council; Scott Finn, President and CEO of Vermont Public Radio; Michael Harrington, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor; and many other key Vermont community, tourism, education, and economic development experts and leaders.

ALL members of the community are invited to participate.