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Spinelli Field. Photo by Isabel Wissner, Vermont News & Media correspondent

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There is an important vote on November 2. As such, I write to encourage the voters of Bennington to approve the budget for renovations to the Spinelli athletic complex at Mount Anthony Union High School. As a resident taxpayer, business owner, parent, and a former MAU coach, I ask you to consider what is best for our community based on several factors.

If you are out and about in town these days you may notice a great new vibe in Bennington. Despite the pandemic, downtown renovations, as well as new businesses, have created a feeling that the worst might be over for us. In fact, it feels like we could be in a Phoenix-like rise to new heights. As a community, we must not be short sighted in our approach to fostering continuation of this trend. To be clear, I believe these improvements are the early results of recent investment. These investments are both private and public.

In fact, it could be argued that the private ventures may not happen without the public lead, arguably starting with the Putnam project. It begs the question, what privateer invests in a town that does not invest in itself?

We must now self-assess. The question: Are we headed towards new heights based on continuous improvement, or a cliff at the top of the bunny hill? I believe in large part it is up to us, the voters. If Bennington wants to thrive and grow, we must be competitive in all areas. Make no mistake, this requested investment in our children is an investment in our town’s future. Indeed, MAU athletics are, and have always been, a big part of this community. Well-rounded youth almost always participate in extra-curricular activities of one form or another. In reality, a healthy scholastic athletic program is usually a sign of a vibrant community. As a parent, coach and business owner, I strongly believe in the benefits of participating in team sports. These “benefits” will cease in their contribution to our community if we do not remain competitive as an option for future investment.

When Anne and I moved to Bennington 24 years ago, this was a bustling community with middle management jobs, a thriving downtown, and excellent public schools, including the sports programs. Until recently perhaps, that was no longer the case. If we do not provide for excellent attractive facilities, we will not remain a favorable option for the future emotional and financial investment of families and business.

Bennington needs to be well-rounded in our approach to remain a great place to attract and raise families. In 1997, as parents with two babies (and more to come) our choice to locate here was easy. If we were in the same position today, I am not sure the choice would be so easy. If we vote based on what is right for the “good of the whole” we will continue to add to the resurgence we see in Bennington today. Subsequently, we can all be proud of our wonderful town of Bennington. I strongly back this initiative, please cast your vote in support of the renovation of the storied Spinelli Field.

Andy Anderson lives in Bennington.


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