Revised Notes from Economic Development committee meeting
August 5, 2015
Members present: Brian Savage, Reg Beliveau, Monica Greene, Neal Speer, Adam Paxman, Chris Leach, Terri O’Shea
Update on July community meeting
We discussed the July community meeting and how impressed we all were with the discussion and work Rutland has done. We also are optimistic about efforts in Swanton. Reggie gave a follow up report on what Swanton is doing. He met with police: they understand the importance of connections and are already doing a lot of partnering with other organizations. Joey is trying to get twenty hours of time into the elementary school so kids can build relationship with police. He hopes this can break a cycle – kids see police as helpful, even if their parents do not. As mentioned at the July meeting, Swanton crime statistics reinforce the effective measures our police department is doing. The committee wondered if maybe we are lacking PR.
Reg also mentioned the September Block Party in September at Second and York Street (a good place to change things up).
Update/report on Brownsfield sites by Neal Speer
Neal did a great job of researching the Brownsfield situation and provided us with a report from NRPC (report is attached). We discussed the identified sites and the possibility that we identify other sites that may be conducive to business development. We discussed how great it would be to “clean up” and develop the western entry into town. Neal has volunteered to continue to take the lead on this.
Request from Arts committee for marketing ideas
We discussed the request from the Arts committee for ideas on how individual artists can market themselves. The ideas mentioned included websites, facebook, Tyler Place, Farmers Market booth. We think it would be great if we had a space/building available where they could offer classes, display work. Something similar to Enosburgh where the artists who display also staff the Gallery. We talked about the Beauty Salon that is leaving and the possibility of that space.
Update from Adam Paxman on planning
Adam has been attending planning meetings and told us that the SEP work will be included in the plan. We talked about the designated growth center (exit 20) and the fact that we may want to be consistently aware of how that will impact Swanton’s economic development.
Update on Historical Appraisal of downtown building for sale
Ron Kilburn and the owner are discussing it. Brian is also talking with owner about the building.
1. Adam mentioned Promise Community and their $200,000 pot. We are not quite sure how it will affect Swanton.
2. Karissa Stell has developed a Swanton “bragging” brochure for us. It will be on our Sept agenda. It is attached to this email as well. Thank you to Karrisa!
3. We discussed the lack of commercial building space in Swanton. Monica mentioned how it is hard to find space. The committee discussed how that is a barrier to growth of existing businesses and beginning of new ones.
4. Reggie went to a Northern VT Economic Development Board of Directors Meeting. It is funded again (limited amount) and NW Regional Planning will be the holder of the $30,000 funding.
1. Communication – how do we help the communication between select boards, planning, etc.? It would be good to have a more formal way to ensure all are talking with each other.
2. We see a need to focus on hiring someone to be a community and economic development person. We need someone, even if they are inexperienced…
3. We need to have something to sell. One of the things the state does is look outside rather than inside. For example, Mylan. Maybe they need more space. We need someone to help walk people through the process – like a Tim Smith.
Next meeting: September 2nd, 6:30 – 8:00 PM, Swanton village complex