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Woodstock looks ahead with launch of ‘Our Woodstock, Our Future’

2019-05-22

As seen in vtdigger: https://vtdigger.org/2019/05/22/woodstock-looks-ahead-launch-woodstock-f...

Woodstock, VT— What do you love about Woodstock? What do you want for its future? This summer, community members will have the chance to weigh in on those critical questions – and then make them happen. Our Woodstock, Our Future is a community planning process that will bring people together to explore Woodstock’s future, find creative solutions to local challenges, and build community connections.

For over a year, community organizers have been working to create, plan and launch this unique planning process. With funding from the Woodstock Economic Development Commission, a Steering Committee hired Community Workshop LLC – a Vermont consulting firm specializing in community engagement and creative placemaking – to design and facilitate a process that will engage everyone who lives, works and plays in Woodstock.

All are invited to a Kickoff Event at Billings Farm & Museum on Wednesday May 29, from 5:30 – 7:30 PM. This free, family-friendly event will include free refreshments and an open house, lightning talks on community projects, and information on what’s coming up in the Our Woodstock process and how to get involved.

“Woodstock has undertaken planning processes before, but Our Woodstock, Our Future is a critical chance for us to take stock of progress and create a more cohesive approach to strengthening Woodstock,” said Sally Miller, coordinator of Woodstock’s Economic Development Commission. “This process will emphasize going out to community members, helping people listen to each other and understand diverse perspectives, and building a shared vision that we can use to shape the future of our community and move forward together.”

In 2006, the Vermont Council on Rural Development led a Community Visit in Woodstock. Since then, the Town has made progress on a number of needs and projects identified by the community. In fact, community projects and energy have exploded – Woodstock is home to over 70 non-profits and organizations working to improve the area. In order to coordinate and increase collaboration, Steering Committee members felt that Woodstock needs a clearly articulated community vision – and one that represents diverse viewpoints. A critical focus for this project will be reaching out to people who don’t often participate in planning or town government, and helping different groups listen to each other.

Community Workshop is working to make sure that happens by designing a range of activities and ways to participate. Community Workshop is known for its high-impact community projects and creative planning processes across North America, from First Nations in Canada to locally known projects like Bethel Better Block. In addition to traditional methods like public events and surveys, Our Woodstock, Our Future will invite people to weigh in via text message and comments on postcards, tables at community events, and by hosting informal conversations with neighbors, friends or groups. Watch for input opportunities around Town all summer, and visit ourwoodstockvt.org for updates, an online survey, and to sign up for news.

By late summer, organizers will combine and analyze thousands of comments and distill them into a single, common vision for Woodstock. They will then bring people back together to identify and prioritize action projects that will help make Woodstock’s new vision real.

Organizers emphasize that it’s critical for everyone to speak up and get involved, whether you’re 8 or 80, a longtime resident or summer visitor, someone who runs a business or just pops into Woodstock to run errands. In addition to offering feedback and ideas, the Steering Committee invites people to sign up to volunteer at events or to host a conversation, and encourages businesses and organizations to sign on as partners.

Our Woodstock, Our Future is a creative community planning process in Woodstock, Vermont. In 2019, it will bring people together to explore what we want for our community’s future and then create the future we want to see. Visit the Our Woodstock, Our Future website at ourwoodstockvt.org, join our email list, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @ourwoodstockvt. For more information contact Sally Miller, sally@ourwoodstockvt.org or 802-299-7806.