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Wallingford Community Action Plan to be Developed on June 21st

The Vermont Council on Rural Development will hold an action plan building session in the Wallingform Community Visit process on June 21st; all community members are welcome to help line up action plans to move priority projects forward.

On May 23rd over 50 Wallingford community members came together to set core priorities for future action in town. They reviewed 14 ideas that were gathered from focus forums in April with residents at Community Visit Day, and chose priorities designed to boost the community and advance the town's economy into the future. At the end of the session, participants signed up as volunteers to advance these new initiatives.

On June 21st, these new task forces will meet in the Wallingford Town Hall 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:

Expand Wallingford Events and Improve Community Communications and Engagement
Support Economic and Business Development
Build Multi-Use Trails and River/Lake Access and Boost Recreation Capacity

All Wallingford community members are invited to participate:

June 21st from 6:30 – 9:00pm
Wallingford Town Hall
75 School Street in Wallingford

The Vermont Council on Rural Development is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing rural Vermont communities. For more information, visit: https://www.vtrural.org/programs/community-visits.

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

Expand Wallingford Events and Improve Community Communications and Engagement

There are several wonderful community events in Wallingford throughout the year. However, residents miss past events that no longer occur such as the Wallingford Day, community fireworks, the Christmas Stroll, the town picnic after the Memorial Day parade, and more. A group could come together to bring back those events and start new traditions that will bring people of all ages together. New events could include block parties, regular summer concerts in the park, an open studio weekend, a Fall Harvest Festival, contra dances at the Town Hall, or a chili cook off. The group could also engage local youth to build programs for teens including dances, a “Paint and Pizza” event, recreation and outdoor activities, and more. In order to improve community communications, the group could share events and other community information on a community calendar, through the town newsletter, by social media, and by building an outdoor bulletin board to share flyers and community information. The group could also work to collect and share volunteer opportunities through social media, the town newsletter, and Front Porch Forum.

Support Economic and Business Development   

Wallingford is a town with many economic assets including a scenic and accessible location, proximity to outdoor recreation opportunities, holistic health care assets, a walkable village center, quality internet service, and vacant retail space. An Economic Development Task Force could form to leverage these assets and implement a comprehensive strategy to boost economic development as well as work to attract or develop a market in Wallingford. Strategies may include analyzing and addressing what businesses need to locate in Wallingford, identifying financing or tax credit opportunities, attracting businesses to the town that boost commerce, create jobs and align with the community character, and working with businesses to coordinate hours, events, and marketing. Residents see opportunities for a hardware store and other retail, a café or deli, a Village market, a bakery, a brewery, and more.

Build Multi-Use Trails and River/Lake Access and Boost Recreation Capacity

A Wallingford Outdoor Recreation Committee could form to build and maintain a variety of multi-use trails locally and in partnership with the Green Mountain National Forest and other partners and to support and boost Wallingford recreation. Trails could be available for mountain biking, hiking, and backcountry skiing. Additionally, the group could work to improve access to water-based activities such as lake and river access, support stewardship and maintenance, improve and build other recreation infrastructure, and make equipment available through boat and equipment rental. Maps, signage, and events could be developed to make the trails accessible and fun for locals, visitors, and thru-hikers coming off the trail. In the long-term, this group could also explore the possibility of hiring a recreation director for Wallingford that would work in support of these initiatives.