Bennington has a bright future

Hallelujah! Finally some good news for downtown Bennington! I was at the last Select Board meeting and heard two presentations that should excite everyone in town. The first presentation was about the revitalization of the airport. The second one was the group investing in the Greenberg block. Let me first address the Greenberg project.

I know the plans sound pretty grand, with a contemplated $20 million investment. But Bill Colvin's demonstration Monday proved to me that, if the stars line up correctly, this could really happen. I can't get into all the particulars in a short letter, but Bill's presentation is worth watching on CAT-TV. The project will have a mixed-use flavor to it. There will be commercial, residential, and (hopefully) some entertainment part in this project. We all know that the Old Castle Theater Company will stay, and it has made some major investments in that part of town. They may even look to expand their operation! Even Martin's Mini-Mart is looking to be an integral part of this project.


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The block already supports South Street and Main Street, but the upstairs of the Putnam will be renovated and the Greenberg's Hardware property is where the new mixed-use buildings will be. The group cannot tell us at this point exactly what their plan is, but they need to find investors who will buy into this project—which I believe they can do. I hope the general public does not get too impatient because this will take time to accomplish. Mr. Colvin and BCRC sound like they know exactly where our strengths are and where our weakness are, and I have total confidence in Bill Colvin's ability to pull this project off. I believe that the hospital and the two colleges are committed to this project, and this is a good thing.

The second part that excited me at the meeting was the commitment of a group of partners at the airport. Their goal is to have more people come in by air to visit, vacation, and maybe even to move their families and businesses here. They have developed a well-thought-out marketing plan that exploits all our advantages and amenities. Their vision isn't limited to visitors, but also includes education for people of all ages and possible business recruitment at the airport.

These two projects show that Bennington's greatest asset—the people who live and work here—can develop new and exciting ways to make all of our strengths work together. With people like these and projects like these, our future will be very bright indeed.

— Mike Bethel Bennington