Keeping a viable downtown on tap in Middlebury, Feb. 21 and 25

MIDDLEBURY — The community action group Neighbors, Together hosted two forums earlier this month to engage community members in identifying values that should be protected during the upcoming rail and bridges project in downtown Middlebury. A second round of forums is coming up on Feb. 21 and 25.
The values that were identified as most critical by those at the first forums were:
• Accessibility, including parking, pedestrian and cycling access; emergency service access; and way-finding signage;
• The economic vitality of downtown and regional businesses;
• The town’s cultural and social vibrancy and strong sense of community.
In addition, attendees cited concerns about historic preservation, cleanliness, safety, tourism, environmental impacts and the aesthetic qualities of the town along with several other topics. A full report of the values identified can be reviewed at
Next up, the Neighbors, Together group will be hosting another round of forums focused on brainstorming creative ideas and potential solutions to these items. Ideas may include things like a customer loyalty card with incentives for shopping locally, an event to bring people into town or a public art project … all ideas are welcome and encouraged.
The brainstorming action items forums will take place on Sunday, Feb. 21, from 3-5 p.m. (with free childcare for ages 3 and older) and on Thursday, Feb. 25, from 6-8 p.m., both at St. Stephen’s Church on the Middlebury green. All community members are invited to one or both meetings to offer their large and small ideas. Those who have ideas to share but cannot attend either of the forums may email [email protected].
Neighbors Together is a partnership of St. Stephen’s Church, Addison County Chamber of Commerce, Addison Central Supervisory Union, Better Middlebury Partnership, Downtown Improvement District Committee, Local Management Project Team, Middlebury College, Middlebury Area Clergy Association and the Town Hall Theater.

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