Friday January 25, 2013

WILMINGTON -- This year, two towns in the Deerfield Valley are looking to share ideas and recognize projects that may be equally good for both towns.

On Jan. 2, Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy announced to the Selectboard two goals that might be suitable to meet that goal.

The first one is to create a plan to connect at least one trail between Wilmington and Dover. The Valley Trail had been mentioned as a potential choice for the project.

The second one is to develop a "Welcome to the Deerfield Valley" guide, equipped with information regarding contacts and resources.

"These are very good goals," said Selectboard member Diane Chapman. "And they are achievable."

Each Selectboard from Dover and Wilmington had been brainstorming on what initiatives could be beneficial for both towns and perhaps the Deerfield Valley in general. Each town’s board had been asked to come up with two or three goals that would be feasible to get done in a year.

On Jan. 3, the Bi-town Economic Development Committee got together to establish goals for 2013.

Some of the discussed ideas included creating one trail that connects the two towns as well working on making other trails that attract hikers and bikers. The committee also discussed that an effort should be made in marketing the Deerfield Valley and perhaps creating a brand for it.

There is an agreement between the towns and the committee to begin working on a joint trail that goes through Wilmington and Dover.

"We’ve been working on that with (Dover Economic Development Specialist) Ken Black and (Wilmington Economic and Community Development Consultant) Gretchen Havreluk," Murphy told the Reformer. "There’s been ongoing meetings with that to accomplish at least one solid thing this year."

In regards to the information packet that Murphy described on Jan. 2, Selectboard Member Meg Streeter mentioned that the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce is working on a similar project, but it would not be the same thing.

As talk continued, the Wilmington Selectboard recognized that the Chamber of Commerce would make its information geared more towards businesses and potential business owners who want to open up in the Deerfield Valley area. The bi-town project would be geared more towards basic information as well as resources that would be helpful to residents.

An idea that the Wilmington Selectboard members thought would be good involved eventually putting this information up on the Internet. It would potentially contain a listing of contacts for people that could answer questions that are related to things such as permitting and finding funding for projects.

Wilmington Selectboard member Susie Haughwout went on to say that she had an experience recently that highlighted a need for this type of information to be made easily available. Others agreed that finding the right resource for a given question or issue could be difficult sometimes.

Another idea brought up by the Wilmington Selectboard that could qualify for a bi-town project would be getting zoning into order, making sure everyone is on the same page in terms of differentiating what is in Wilmington and what is in Dover.

"These are feasible goals. ... Start with baby steps," said Wilmington Selectboard member Jim Burke. "And these are two good ones."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.