Public input sought for 2019 Southern Vermont plan

Bennington County and Windham County are joining together to develop a first ever joint strategy to guide the Southern Vermont region's economic future. The intended outcome of this process will be an action plan with specific projects and programs intended to spur economic and community development throughout the region to create job opportunities, improve quality of life, and address major issues facing residents and businesses. Initiatives identified during this process will be eligible for federal, state, and other funding and will benefit from public recognition and opportunities for partnerships and collaboration.

"Vermont's two southernmost counties share a number of demographic, geographic and economic characteristics. This will help in developing a shared understanding throughout Southern Vermont about the most urgent issues affecting economic growth," said BDCC Executive Director Adam Grinold. "While we anticipate much of the 2019 CEDS will be implemented regionally, we will look for opportunities for new joint ventures."

For Bill Colvin, acting director of the Bennington County Industrial Corporation, the beginning of this process marks an important milestone.

"We are delighted to be moving forward with a Southern Vermont CEDS in conjunction with our partners in Windham County. We have worked hard in the Bennington Region to build capacity and understanding of how to do regional economic development over the past three years and we sincerely appreciate BDCC and SeVEDS including Bennington County in the next iteration of its already successful CEDS planning and implementation efforts."

This is the first of three public input sessions, which will focus on asset mapping. The public is invited to attend the session that is most convenient.

The first set of public meetings will be in both Bennington and Windham counties:

June 18 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Bennington Fire House;

June 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Manchester Town Hall;

June 19 from 8 to 10 a.m. at Room 101, Lowey Center, the School for International Training, in Brattleboro;

June 19 from 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. at Lower Theater in Bellows Falls; and

June 19 from 6 to 8:00 p.m. at Old School Library in Wilmington.

These sessions will be interactive and engage participants in discussions around the assets and opportunities in Southern Vermont that make the area attractive and competitive for businesses and residents. According to the organizers, Southern Vermont is at a critical point in time, in terms of the ability to change the region's trajectory and accelerate in a positive direction, and involvement from the public is vital to shaping the strategy and vision for the future.

For more information about the Economic Development Strategy process, contact Laura Sibilia at 802-257-7731, extension 217, or Jonathan Cooper at 802-442-0713, extension 312.


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