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In his commentary on March 6, Greg Sukiennik brought a refreshingly personal and human perspective to our housing crisis.

My wife and I moved to Vermont last August as I became executive director at the Manchester Community Library. With minimal inventory available for purchase or rental in Manchester, we felt lucky to quickly find and lease a loft in an old mill building in North Bennington. While the Library offers competitive wages and benefits, today, our staff has only one Manchester resident. Collectively, our commutes average over 40 miles and an hour daily. Most of us would gladly live in or closer to Manchester if affordable housing were available.

As I meet and talk with folks around town, they share that virtually every business, organization, and institution is in the same bind. Their employees mostly live outside Manchester, and recruiting and retaining people is increasingly challenging. So, running shorthanded is becoming commonplace – increasingly impacting everyone’s quality of life. Like Greg, I wonder where our tradespeople, teachers, seniors, professionals, town employees, and service workforce will come from and live. But, further, I also worry about his more fundamental question, what becomes of Manchester?

Let’s answer Greg’s sincere appeal and go forward in good faith while lowering the housing debate's temperature. Change is inevitable. Solutions require compromise. Can we find the mutual trust and strength to seek the common good for Manchester and Vermont? I believe we can.

Edward Surjan

Manchester Center


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