Have a vision? Send it in
f you have a vision of how you would like Middlebury to grow over the next 10 to 20 years, now is the time to share your thoughts with town officials.The Middlebury Planning Commission is starting a multi-year process of updating the town plan and it is seeking direction from town residents. “We feel that inviting more people to tell us what they think and having listened to more people, we will have a better plan and people will feel as if they’ve been heard,” Planning Commission Chairman John Barstow said in an Addison Independent story last Thursday. To that end the commission is distributing a survey (which also ran in the Addison Independent last Thursday) throughout the community asking several thought-provoking questions: • What do you value about Middlebury?• What would you change about Middlebury if you could?• What is Middlebury’s greatest opportunity?• What is the greatest challenge to our community’s future?• What do you envision for Middlebury in 30 years?• How are you most likely to participate in Middlebury’s future?The questions are not surprising or unique, but if residents take each question to heart, there is much to reflect upon.Just what are the ways each of us value this community? Do we live in close-knit neighborhoods? Is it the relative proximity from home to downtown that makes it pedestrian accessible for many? Is it the abundance of arts, entertainment and academic lectures provided by the Town Hall Theater, the schools and Middlebury College, as well as the growing live music scene provided by several downtown businesses? Or is it the town’s size — not too big, not too small — that adds value, or is it its location in the heart of Addison County? Is it our mix of cultures — agricultural, academic, business and industry — or a progressive state of mind that attracts others to move here and prosper, or move here to retire? Is it our recreational attributes: close to alpine and Nordic ski centers, rivers and lakes to play in, and plenty of sports activities to watch, cheer or play?As we ponder what we value about Middlebury, the opposite is just as important: what are the town’s failings and what would you change? Traffic patterns and parking are the easy answers, but delve deeper and see what you find.Ponder also the opportunities and challenges for the town 10, 20 and 30 years down the road. Imagine what could be and then ask how the town could possibly get there? Finally, ponder what role you could play.Why take the time to answer these questions now if the update isn’t due until 2012? Because now is the time when new ideas and new visions will be incorporated into the planning commission’s thinking.If the week slipped by (as it did for most of us) and you haven’t yet filled out the questionnaire, check last week’s Addison Independent for a copy on page 15A, or, better yet, find an online-copy at www.Middlebury.govoffice.com. But do it this week; if you wait much longer, the holidays will be upon us and all bets are off that you’ll get it done.