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Brighton / Island Pond Community Visit Program invites the full community together to set direction for the future

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2016-09-26

On October 4th 2016, all members of the Brighton/Island Pond community are invited to kick off the Brighton Community Visit process, an opportunity for residents to actively participate in examining issues, deciding their top priorities and developing concrete action plans for the future of the town.

This first step in the Community Visit Process will be “Brighton Community Visit Day,” an opportunity to come together to discuss assets, challenges, and opportunities for action within 6 focus forums being held throughout the day. Everyone is invited to join in on the Community Visit Day on October 4th.  Step 2 will be a Community Meeting in November when all residents will be invited to champion action ideas, set priorities, and have the option to sign up for task forces to take on each priority initiative. VCRD will return in December for Step 3, Community Resource Day, with a visiting resource team of Vermont leaders to help support the work of the new task forces as they create action plans to move their priorities forward.

The Brighton Community Visit Day will include focus groups on six different topics at meeting rooms in the town and a FREE community roast pork and ham dinner at the American Legion (see the schedule with locations below). FREE childcare and activities for kids ages 3 and up will be provided by the Northwoods Stewardship Center at the Island Pond Library during the forums. Forum topics were decided by a town steering committee representing people from varied occupations and parts of town. The topics they set as starting points for the forums on October 4th include: Transportation & Infrastructure; Addressing Substance Abuse & Mental Health; Growing Our Economy; Revitalizing Downtown; The Future of Our School; and Recreation and Natural Resources.

Brighton resident and Selectboard Chair Doug Niles who has stepped up to serve as the chairperson of the Community Visit Process would like to invite every member of the Brighton community to attend the event on October 4th. He says, “Come engage in an exciting conversation about the future of our town and enjoy a free community dinner with your neighbors! This process will help us come together to recognize our greatest priorities, as well as the most critical challenges that we face. So please join me on October 4th and help us shape the future of Brighton!”

Town Administrator Joel Cope is also excited about the process saying, “There is no better way for townspeople to express their opinions and volunteer their ideas than VCRD’s Community Visit Program. This event will provide the opportunity for involvement of the public to visualize the town’s future and to learn about and connect with resources available to help realize that vision.”

The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) was invited by the Town of Brighton to facilitate the Community Visit process. VCRD is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the advancement of Vermont communities. In the past 15 years, they have worked with nearly 50 communities throughout Vermont to bring residents together through their facilitated and structured process to share ideas and move toward common solutions.

Paul Costello, VCRD’s Executive Director looks forward to working with Brighton and engaging with people from all walks of life and all parts of the community. He says, “For VCRD, it’s all about local leadership – we don’t know the priorities that will emerge, but we will be building a team of state, federal and non-profit leaders who will think with the town and support the directions that residents set. Every town is different and we are eager to learn more about opportunities ahead to advance community and economic projects for the town and region.”

VCRD will bring with them a Visiting Team of 20 Vermont state, federal, business, non-profit, and philanthropic leaders to listen to and reflect on the challenges and opportunities for action that residents identify. The Visiting Team members will include: Ted Brady, State Director of USDA Rural Development; Jenny Nelson, Office of Senator Sanders; Richard Amore, VT Department of Housing and Community Development; Dave Snedeker, Northeastern Vermont Development Association; Joe Segale, Vermont Agency of Transportation; Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup, Vermont Community Foundation; and many other key Vermont community and economic development leaders.

The Community Visit is an important opportunity for people to think forward about Brighton’s future, to exchange ideas, to meet Vermont leaders, and to take steps toward positive change. VCRD welcomes diverse perspectives and encourages

ALL members of the community are invited to participate.