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Westford’s Future: Community Forums to Set Direction for the Future of the Community

On September 19th, all members of the Westford community are invited to kick off a process to set direction for a vibrant, prosperous, and dynamic future. This process will engage the entire community in reviewing challenges and opportunities facing the community, identifying top priorities for action, and developing concrete actions plans and connecting to resources for the future of the town.

This first step in the Westford’s Future process will feature a town-wide potluck dinner at 5:30pm, a brief showcase of news and info from community groups and organizations, and an evening of community forums to discuss assets, challenges, and opportunities for action. At 6:30, Everyone is invited to share ideas in forums on 2 different topics, chosen by a steering committee of community representatives: Village Revitalization and Economic Development OR Gathering Spaces, Communications, and Events – attend the forum most important to you. Free childcare will be provided by the Barn School during the forums.

Step 2 of Westford’s Future will be a Community Meeting on October 22nd when all residents will be invited to champion action ideas, set priorities, have the option to sign up for task forces and build action plans with a visiting team of resource leaders to help identify key action steps and technical and financial resources.

Julie Andrews, Westford Selectboard member invites all to attend saying, “The town of Westford hums with activity because of the amazing spirit of volunteerism here. I’m so excited about working with VCRD to develop a cohesive plan based on the ideas of a wide array of people in town. It will give us the chance to channel people’s activities toward what is most wanted and needed, making our town even stronger.”

The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) was invited by the Town of Westford to facilitate this process. VCRD is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the advancement of Vermont communities. In the past 20 years, they have worked with over 65 communities throughout Vermont to bring residents together through their facilitated and structured process to share ideas and move toward common solutions. The Westford’s Future process is funded with support from the Vermont Community Foundation, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and the Northern Borders Regional Commission.

VCRD will bring with them a Visiting Team of Vermont state, federal, business, non-profit, and philanthropic leaders to listen to and reflect on the challenges and opportunities for action that residents identify. The Visiting Team members will include leaders from USDA Rural Development, VT Department of Housing and Community Development; Vermont Community Foundation, Senator Bernie Sanders Office, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, Vermont Arts Council, Preservation Trust of Vermont, and other key Vermont community, tourism, education, and economic development experts and leaders.

Jenna Koloski, VCRD’s Community and Policy Manager, is excited to work in support of the Westford community. She says, “No one from outside of Westford knows what is best for the community – this is an opportunity to engage in a community discussion, as equals, and have a voice in deciding the best course of action for the future of the town. All are welcome to join in on forums to brainstorm ideas for the future.”

ALL members of the community are invited to participate.

For more information, visit www.vtrural.org or contact VCRD at 802-225-6091 or jenna@vtrural.org or visit the event Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/411072276428078/

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