The Vermont Council on Rural Development is facilitating a Community Visit process in the City of Vergennes that helps area residents discuss, set, and then implement common goals for the future of the city. Vergennes, Vermont’s smallest city and one of the smallest in the whole country, is a unique community with a historic downtown and a waterfront along the Otter Creek with access to Lake Champlain.
Last month, over 100 community members and a visiting team of 25 representatives from state, federal, private, non-profit, and philanthropic agencies participated in a Community Visit Day in Vergennes. Participants shared their thoughts on topics of relevance in Vergennes including: Municipal & Non-Profit Resources, Tourism, Recreation & Entertainment, the Role of Municipal Government, Basin & Riverside Development, Connecting Youth, Transportation Infrastructure & Pedestrian Safety, The Future of Economic Development, and a Vergennes Community Center.
On Wednesday, April 16th, VCRD will return to Vergennes for the second meeting in the Community Visit process. All members of the Vergennes community are invited to participate in this community meeting which will set the path for Vergennes’ future. The meeting will be held from 6:30 – 9:00pm at the Vergennes Opera House.
According to Paul Costello, VCRD Executive Director, “Vergennes residents have an excellent opportunity to help aim Vergennes in the right direction on a number of issues by attending the Community Meeting at the Opera House on April 16th. The forums held in March produced some big bold ideas. Now this meeting will help residents set priorities for action. Active participation from town residents is essential in setting direction to best meet the needs of the town going forward. Everyone is invited! And everyone who comes is equal in the process, even if they missed last month’s meeting.”
The April 16 meeting will review the list of ideas generated over the Community Visit day held last month. VCRD will facilitate a discussion of those ideas, where members of the Vergennes community will consolidate, add to, and champion the list of opportunities; and, through dialog and dot-voting exercises, they will identify the top priorities to move forward in the coming year. The issues that are selected will become the focus of local task force groups that will be formed to move the priorities forward.
All residents, whether they participated in the first session or not, are encouraged to come out on April 16th to play an active role in shaping Vergennes’s future and to vote for issues that will become the focus of working groups in the coming year.
The VCRD Community Visit process was invited to the town by the City Council to help set community priorities for the future. Mayor Bill Benton has agreed to serve as Community Visit Chairperson; he’ll help coordinate work with committees over the next year.
The Vermont Council on Rural Development is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing rural Vermont communities. For more information, contact Margaret at 802-223-6091 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to download the flyer (pdf).
In this video filmed by Vermont Community Access Media, Paul Costello and Vergennes Mayor Bill Benton talk about the process and upcoming community meeting: