Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: With downtown done, community should take a bow

Thank you to all who attended the Neighbors, Together community celebration, Lazarus Park dedication and turning on the refurbished fountain in Triangle Park. This was the culmination of five years of actual construction in downtown Middlebury and a nod to the community that endured the difficult times with positive attitudes, can-do spirit, flexibility and support for each other. Everyone should take a bow.

The celebration was an opportunity to have fun and to enjoy our new beautiful spaces. Town Hall Theater set the stage with the wonderful Foolaroo family-friendly and first-class entertainment throughout town. At Triangle Park, refreshments were given out, the ever-popular dunk tank was busy, a bubble station for kids, tye-dying, and COVID shots were available — all for free. A special thank you to the National Bank of Middlebury that brought in the fabulous Northeast Kingdom Express train that made continuous trips — loaded with old and young alike — engineered by Brian (and Anne) Rouleau. As always, there needs to be thanks extended to the behind-the-scenes work of Sheriff Peter Newton as well as our police and fire departments. 

A special thanks to the Neighbors, Together stakeholders, who have collaborated since 2015 to plan activities that would support the businesses, maintain Middlebury as a cultural and community center, and help the community navigate around the construction. The stakeholders include representatives from: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (founding member), Better Middlebury Partnership (lead partner with a special thanks to Karen Duguay), National Bank of Middlebury, Town Hall Theater, Downtown Improvement District Commission, Middlebury College, Porter Medical Center, Town of Middlebury (including the Ilsley Library, Recreation Department as well as Select Board and administration), Tri Town Transit (ACTR), Addison Central School District, Addison County Chamber of Commerce, former members of the Rail Task Force, and a few community members at large. The dedication and time spent by these busy volunteer representatives was priceless. The collaboration was impeccable.

The work of Neighbors, Together is over. We will be presenting a detailed report of our work to the Vermont Agency of Transportation (who funded our programming) and the selectboard later this fall.

Thank you all again.

Nancy Malcolm and Linda Horn

Co-chairs, Neighbors, Together

 

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