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Dorset Tomorrow Takes Shape - Next Step: Task Force Meetings Sept 23

The Vermont Council on Rural Development will hold an action plan building session in the Dorset Tomorrow process on September 23rd; all community members are welcome to help line up action plans to move priority projects forward.

On July 24th over 80 Dorset community members came together to set core priorities for future action in town. They reviewed 9 ideas that were gathered from focus forums in June with residents at the Dorset Tomorrow Kick-Off, and chose priorities designed to boost the community and advance the town’s climate economy into the future. At the end of the session, participants signed up as volunteers to advance these new initiatives.

On September 23rd, these new task forces will meet at the Dorset School to frame out action plans and work with a resource team of federal, state, business, and non-profit leaders to identify next steps and resources that can help them succeed. The new task force groups will work to:

  • Increase Affordable Housing and Attract New Residents
  • Build Community Unity
  • Transform Dorset’s Energy Usage & Generate More Electricity Locally
  • Improve Dorset’s Transportation Options

All community members of the Dorset community are invited to participate:

September 23rd from 6:00 – 9:00pm
The Dorset School

The Vermont Council on Rural Development is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing rural Vermont communities. For more information, contact Jon at 802-225-6393 or jon@vtrural.org or go to: https://www.vtrural.org/model-communities.

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Here’s more about the four priorities identified for action:

Increase Affordable Housing and Attract New Residents
With great schools, a beautiful natural landscape, and many places of employment, Dorset is an attractive place to live and raise a family. For low and middle income households, finding affordable homes to rent or own in Dorset is a challenge. A task force should work to increase the availability of affordable housing choices in Dorset and to attract new residents to the community. Particular attention can be paid to increasing Dorset’s racial and ethnic diversity. Recruiting remote workers could also be a strategy and focus of this group.

Build Community Unity
Dorset is one town with some existing divisions across geographic, socio-economic, and seasonal boundaries. Building unity and a vision shared by those living in Dorset is key as the town plans for and builds a more vibrant future. A task force could come together to create a communication and organizational structure that would build greater unity across community divides and actively promote the progress of the community. The task force could help lead a community-wide visioning effort designed to bring all members of the community into the conversation. This group could also work to expand communications networks to all residents and to ensure that all potential areas of collaboration and the sharing of resources are maximized. This effort would be helpful as Dorset prepares to update its town plan and works to develop plans for the newly acquired Raptor Lane property.

Transform Dorset’s Energy Usage and Generate More Electricity Locally
Dorset’s Energy Committee has a strong track record of success, and local renewable energy companies have also had a substantial impact. A task force will come together with the goal of increasing energy efficiency, local renewable energy generation, and grid resilience. Based on the priorities selected at the August 15 community meeting, this group will actively explore priorities including community solar, a public engagement campaign to promote various new energy opportunities, a solar+storage microgrid project, and home weatherization.

Improve Dorset’s Transportation Options
Making Dorset a great place for walking and biking will be a key priority for this task force. The group will also work to develop and promote ride-sharing options and vehicle electrification as additional approaches that increase mobility while reducing costs and emissions. 

Town: