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Vergennes folks seek input on improving life in the Little City

VERGENNES — Through the Community Visit process Vergennes community members have settled on three areas in which to build new initiatives to improve the city. Later this month, some of Vermont’s top experts in those areas will visit the city for a Resource Meeting, at which they will work with citizens to set up action plans to make these goals possible.
The meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, May 21, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Bixby Memorial Library, is the next step in the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s (VCRD) Community Visit to Vergennes that began with public forums in March. At the second meeting on April 18, over 100 residents whittled down a number of opportunities for the community into three task force action areas:
•        Improve transportation and parking
•        Advance the Vergennes economy and expand the community and economic development capacity of the city
•        Redevelop the Vergennes Falls basin and open a riverwalk
The Resource Meeting represents the third phase in the program, when action area work plans are developed. On May 21, VCRD will bring a new team of facilitators to work with each task force. So far, the members of that team include Brian Searles of the Agency of Transportation; Adam Lougee of the Addison County Regional Planning Commission; Lucy Leriche of the Agency of Commerce & Community Development; Robin Scheu of the Addison County Economic Development Corp.; Ted Brady of the USDA Rural Development; Bill LaBergeManchester leader of the RiverWalk development; Tom Berry of Sen. Leahy’s office; and David Raphael, principle in LandWorks, who led the design work for the Middlebury Falls park.
VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello said the resource meeting will help each task force build a “concrete list of action steps and identify both human and financial resources available to support those efforts.”
All Vergennes community members are invited to the meeting on May 21, whether or not they have attended earlier sessions or to have signed up in advance. Community members can sign on to one of the Task Force groups in advance by calling 802-223-6091 or emailing info@vtrural.org; or they can come to the meeting on the 21st and join a group then.

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