On Tuesday, March 19 2024, all members of the Franklin Community are invited to come together for a free community dinner and the opportunity to be an active participant in developing new ideas for the future of Franklin.

This event is the first step of the “Franklin Community Voices” process – a three-part series of facilitated discussions coordinated by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) to help the community brainstorm ideas for the future, identify top priorities for Franklin, and connect to key resources. All community members are invited and encouraged to attend.

Community members in attendance will participate in a series of forums to discuss assets, challenges, and opportunities for action. A Visiting Team of state, regional, federal, and non-profit leaders will be there to listen to the discussions, share reflections, and serve as resources to support the community as they begin this work. Topics for discussion on the 19th were chosen by a local Planning Committee representing a diversity of interests in town including the school, town, business, library, church, farm and other local leaders.

Participants are encouraged to attend the forums they are most interested in. Topics include:

  • 4:30-6pm – Lake Carmi @ Franklin United Church
  • 4:30-6pm – Building a Welcoming Community @ Town Hall
  • 6-7pm – Free community dinner with live music featuring Uncle John’s Band @ Franklin United Church
  • 7-8:30pm – Recreation & Community Events @ Franklin United Church
  • 7-8:30 pm – Economic Development: Workforce & Business @ Town Hall

The Vermont Council on Rural Development was invited to the community by the Franklin Selectboard. VCRD is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the advancement of Vermont communities. In the past 20 years, VCRD has worked with over 86 communities throughout Vermont to bring residents together through their facilitated and structured process to share ideas and move toward common solutions.

“The Franklin Community Voices process is an opportunity for all residents, from all walks of life, to select priorities and action steps that will move the town forward, and connect with a team of state, federal, and non-profit leaders who will think with the community and support the directions that residents set,” says VCRD Community Engagement & Policy Director Jenna Koloski. “At VCRD, we recognize that Franklin residents know what is best for the town – the process is about local leadership and giving everyone the opportunity, as equals, to join the discussion.”

ALL community members are invited and encouraged to attend the March 19th kick-off to join the discussion and FREE community dinner – featuring the local Uncle John’s Band – and help shape the future of Franklin. Childcare will be provided during forums. Transportation and interpretation services are available by request. Those with transportation needs should call the Town Clerk at 802-285-2101 to schedule. To request interpretation services, contact Alyssa at VCRD at 802-222-6896 or [email protected] by March 9th.

Part two will take place on April 18th when residents will come together to champion action ideas, set priorities, and sign up for task forces to take on each priority of initiative. A team of technical and financial resource providers will join the community in the final step on May 14th to help support the work of the new task forces as they create action plans to move their priorities forward. From there forward, all action will focused at the local task force level.

Franklin Community Voices is funded with support from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Northern Border Regional Commission, the Vermont Community Foundation, and VCRD supporters and donors.

For more information, visit bit.ly/FranklinVoices or contact Alyssa Johnson, VCRD Community Visit Program Manager, at 802-222-6896 or [email protected]