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Cambridge Community to Set Priorities for Action on October 27th

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2014-10-17

All members of the Cambridge Community are invited to participate in the second phase of the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s (VCRD) Community Visit to the Town of Cambridge. The meeting, to be held on Monday, October 27th 6:30 – 9:00pm at the Cambridge Elementary School Gymnasium, will follow up on the initial session held in September, which drew over 185 community members.

During the day of forums on September 30th, residents met in focus groups to share their thoughts on topics of relevance in Cambridge including: Senior Issues; Community Center; Traffic, Parking, & Pedestrian Infrastructure; Youth; Natural Resource Issues; Health & Safety; Education; Economic Development & Tourism; and Creating Community Unity. A Visiting Team of 21 representatives from state, federal, private, non-profit, and philanthropic agencies heard their ideas, and will remain as resources as the town moves forward on priorities that emerge through this process.

The October 27 meeting will center on reviewing a list of ideas generated at the first visit day. VCRD will facilitate a discussion of those ideas, where members of the Cambridge community will advocate for causes of particular interest, and finally vote for issues they want to move forward in the coming year. The issues that are selected will become the focus of task forces in the future. In November, VCRD will return with a resource team of state, federal, and non-profit leaders for a final visit to help the new task forces build action plans and resource connections to advance the priority projects.

According to Paul Costello, VCRD Executive Director, “Cambridge residents have an excellent opportunity to help aim Cambridge in the right direction on a number of issues by attending the Community Meeting at the Elementary School Gymnasium on October 27th. The forums held in September produced some big bold ideas. Now this meeting will help residents set priorities for action. Active participation from town residents is essential to meet the needs of the town going forward. Everyone is invited! And everyone who comes is equal in the process, even if they missed last month’s sessions.”

The VCRD Community Visit process was invited to the town by the Selectboard to help set community priorities for the future. Selectboard Chair Larry Wycoff noted that the September 30th Community Visit Day, “exceeded my own personal expectations.” He went on to say that, “the Cambridge Select Board is proud, and excited, to have invited the VCRD team, and their army of facilitators to Cambridge. Special thanks to Bernie Juskiewicz for starting the ball rolling during the last legislative session. All 9 of the focus forums were well attended with folks of differing opinions sharing ideas on how to ‘fix’ various issues in, and around, the town and villages. We are eagerly looking forward to the October 27th meeting when VCRD presents what will undoubtedly be a large matrix of interconnected solutions.”

April Tuck has agreed to serve as Community Visit Chairperson; she’ll help coordinate work with committees over the next year. She said that “it was inspiring to witness so many members of our community come together to discuss meaningful topics. Folks with differing perspectives and perceptions engaged in thoughtful and respectful dialogue. It was not only a perfect example of civic engagement, it was also confirmation of our community commitment to our children’s futures. Our next step is to vote on which of our ideas matters most to us to make a reality.” April hopes everyone -- business people, retired folks, students, and all community members -- comes to the meeting on October 27th.

All residents, whether they participated in the first session or not, are encouraged to come out on October 27th to vote for issues that will become the focus of working groups in the coming year. Mark your calendars and come play an active role in shaping Cambridge’s future.

For more information on the process go to:  http://vtrural.org/programs/Community-Visits.