Community Action Plan advances to next stage

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BELLOWS FALLS — The Vermont Council on Rural Development will hold its last community meeting in the Let's Take Action Rockingham Community Visit process, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at the Bellows Falls Middle School. All residents of the town are welcome to help line up action plans to move priority projects forward.

On Jan. 8, about 150 people from the Rockingham community came together to set core priorities for future action in town. They reviewed 24 ideas that were gathered from focus forums in December, an online survey, and a youth forum. They then chose three priorities designed to boost the community and advance the town's economy into the future. At the end of the session, participants signed up as volunteers to advance these new initiatives. Task forces are forming to: Build a Youth Center; Advance Community Energy, Efficiency, and Resiliency; and Redevelop Bellows Falls Buildings.

On Feb. 13, these new task forces will meet in the Bellows Falls Middle School at 15 School St. to frame out action plans and work with a resource team of federal, state, business and non-profit leaders to identify next steps and resources that can help them succeed. Members of the Resource Team will include: Ben Doyle and Jon Muise, USDA Rural Development; Gary Holloway, Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development; Chelsea Lewis, Vermont Community Foundation; Brad Long, Efficiency Vermont; Chris Campany, Windham Regional Commission; Bob Stevens, Stevens and Associates; Sarah Lang, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation; Liz Gamache, Preservation Trust of Vermont; and other key leaders that can provide technical and financial assistance and connections for the task forces.

VCRD's Community and Policy Manager, Jenna Koloski, said "VCRD looks forward to working with these new task forces to narrow in on the group's focus, identify critical first steps towards action, and connect to the resources they need to succeed. This is an important point in the process where we go from ideas to action and we hope that community members will join us to move these ideas forward!"

The Vermont Council on Rural Development is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing rural Vermont communities. For more information, contact Jenna at 802-225-6091 or jenna@vtrural.org or go to: http://vtrural.org/programs/Community-Visits.

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