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Vergennes residents rank community priorities


Vergennes — Over 100 Vergennes residents gathered in a community meeting last week to consider the ideas that were discussed through the Vergennes Community Visit process and to set priorities for action.

At the Community Meeting participants reviewed all the issues that the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) Visiting Team had heard in focus forums on the Community Visit Day held on March 18 and the school forums on March 4.

At the April 16 meeting, community members discussed what was most important and most needed and voted on the priorities that they thought the community should line up to accomplish.

A number of participants signed up to serve on Task Forces to move these issues forward over the course of the next year.

The top three priorities that residents chose to focus on and build task forces around are:

  • Improve transportation and parking
  • Advance the Vergennes economy and expand the community-economic development capacity of the city
  • Redevelop the Vergennes Falls Basin and open a riverwalk

The next step in the process is the “Resource Meeting” set for May 21, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Bixby Memorial Library. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend the meeting.

The Vermont Council of Rural Development will bring a new team of facilitators to help each Task Force build a concrete list of action steps and identify the resources available to support their efforts.

Paul Costello, director of VCRD, produced the event.

“It’s exciting to see the energy and skills of community members lining up together to confront the challenges that the community identified as its most important priorities,” according to Costello.

Vergennes Mayor Bill Benton serves as the overall Chairperson for the entire process.

After the meeting on April 16th he reflected that “the public response to the project prioritization meeting was thrilling. We had 100 citizens sharing positive discussions on topics that are sure to increase the livability of the City of Vergennes. The community can now focus on specific work plans and resources to bring these ideas to fruition.”

Benton said he will coordinate with Task Force members over the course of the next year to help groups work together effectively.

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