Design plan to reach Wilmington community and beyond

Thursday August 1, 2013

WILMINGTON -- Now that the Village Master Plan is complete and available on the town website, the Long Term Community Recovery Steering Committee is attempting to get the plan shown to as many residents as possible.

On July 22, the Wilmington LTCRSC met at the Old Red Mill to discuss the future of downtown in regards to adopting the Village Master Plan, which was recently submitted to the town by the Conway School of Design. It is a plan that highlights ways to improve the safety, aesthetics and traffic control of the village.

Although limited copies are available at the Town Office, the LTCRSC decided to make more copies for viewing at the Pettee Memorial Library. It can also be looked at online at

At the special meeting, it was said that the LTCRSC's charge is to disseminate information to the community. Those who attended offered feedback on the Village Master Plan.

"I think the plan is very helpful," said Wilmington Fund Board member John Gannon. "There are things that are very easy to do and not too expensive. I agree with the streetscape stuff. I just think it's a little more challenging to do."

He mentioned that making greenspaces more accessible was a less challenging task than say, the widening of sidewalks. Other attendees did not think the widening of sidewalks was even a possibility.

Making the lighting in the village more pedestrian friendly was an idea that committee members agreed would be beneficial.

With several committees and organizations in Wilmington, the LTCRSC aimed to figure out how different projects can begin to be tackled. Funding was an issue that would always need to be addressed before projects can start.

"Unless there's money to do it, it's not going to happen," said Gannon.

The downtown designation program group, Wilmington Works, recently appointed a Design Committee. As described in the Vermont Downtown Program, the objective of this committee is "enhancing and improving the physical appearance of a downtown by addressing all design elements to create an appealing environment."

In the near future, the Design Committee will meet with Vermont Downtown Action Team, which already has begun identifying items to address in the downtown village.

On Sept. 11, a firm called Arnett Muldrow will be in Wilmington assisting with design plans as part of the Vermont Downtown Program. The firm will team up with the Vermont Downtown Action Team and address improving the downtown.

Wilmington is one of seven towns to get assistance with rebuilding after Tropical Storm Irene through downtown program facilitators securing Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds.

"It's not money but physical support," said Wilmington Economic Development Specialist Gretchen Havreluk, who was on the ad hoc committee that interviewed and hired Arnett Muldrow for the upcoming project.

The other seven towns selected for assistance include Berry, Waterbury, Warren, Brattleboro, Wakesfield and Brandon. Towns did not apply, but were chosen.

The Vermont Downtown Action Team has come up with several issues and strategies to address with the firm. These include branding that coordinates with the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce and assistance with attracting and retaining new businesses. The latter will include options for businesses such as tax incentives.

Plans for downtown also call for looking into zoning, re-purposing of the Twin Valley High School, lighting, and connecting recreational paths.

The Vermont Downtown Action Team will be identifying a Downtown Master Plan, which also is when the Conway School of Design's plan will be looked at.

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


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