Notes from Economic Development committee meeting
September 2, 2015
Attendees: Reg Beliveau, Neal Speer, Terri O’Shea, Sandy Kilburn, Ron Kilburn, Molly Lambert, Marianna Gamache, Shawn Cheney
II Update from Molly Lambert
Molly gave an overview of the August steering committee meeting. Some of the salient highlights follow:
1. It was agreed that committee interns would be valuable. SEP will request a meeting with MVU’s administration to update them on the efforts of the SEP and outline opportunities for the students to participate. Kathy will do this and aim for a date in late September or early October. Each task force chair will prepare a list of tasks with which an intern could help, and send the list to Molly, who will turn the listed tasks into a “job description.”
2. The Steering Committee of the Swanton Enhancement Project voted to support the creation of a paid position within the Town entitled “Community and Economic Development Coordinator” as outlined in the proposed Town Plan which is scheduled for adoption in September 2015. The motion was approved unanimously. SEP will develop a letter to be presented to the Joint Legislative Body at its September meeting. Joel volunteered to prepare a draft of the letter for the SC’s consideration. More on the letter in the next part of the meeting.
Molly also gave an update on discussions she has had with Paul Costello about building capacity – glue to hold us together. They discussed looking at as many sources for help as we can. These are some of the possible resources:
1. Vermont Community Foundation (possible source of funds)
2. Windham Foundation (possible source of funds)
3. Regional Economic Development (REC) sometimes have revolving loan funds available
4. USDA – has a community development position to help after VCRD leaves
5. Center for Rural Studies at UVM – maybe could use a graduate student
6. AmeriCorps VISTA (needs to be project based and need emphasis on poverty relief)
Molly will follow up with all these people and organizations.
III Larger discussion regarding intern and committee needs
The discussion started with questions about what the committee needs. We talked about Swanton village and Swanton town and how confusing it is sometimes (for some of us) to know who to go to, who does what, and how the town and village work together as a “holistic Swanton”. Joel will do an overview for the steering committee at the next steering committee meeting. (Action)
Reggie suggested that we go to the School board to fill them in on what SEP is doing and how student interns could help. We will recommend it to the steering committee. (Action Item)
Some of the intern job functions we would find helpful are:
* Note taking
* Phone calls
We also emphasized the need for a self-directed person.
IV Larger discussion regarding Community and Economic Development paid position
Joel showed us a letter he has drafted for the town and city that requests the creation of a Community and Economic Development position. Joel plans to make a few edits. The committee thought the letter was wonderful and recommends the steering committee approve it. (Action)
The committee will also help with the job description and PR. We will need to help sell it to the community.
V Update on Mark Fenton and October community meeting
Mark Fenton, speaker and national expert on walkable, bikeable communities, is scheduled to come October 7-9 to meet with 3 communities – Highgate, St. Albans and Swanton. Molly has asked Amy Brewer about whether or not we could use some of our Healthy Communities Award to have him be our featured speaker for the October public meeting. Amy is slated to get back to Molly on the possibility at the end of this week.
VI Update on Prouty/Gamache Building
Ron gave an update on what has been done with the building. The following notes are a combination of Ron’s written report to me and his presentation at the meeting.
‘Marianna gave permission, and she, Ron, Charlie Prouty and Laz Scangas (the architect specialist who works a lot with Preservation Trust of Vermont) met on Friday, Aug. 28 at the site on #1 Canada Street. The purpose was to inspect the condition of the buildings in order to consider possible future uses of the properties. They were aided by historic photographs and Charlie’s knowledge of changes that were made to the market building and the adjacent former Champlain Theater. Laz made extensive measurements of the interior and exterior of the buildings and took many photographs of the present conditions. With the information gained he will write a complete report on his conditions assessment with photographs, drawings, etc. He will also estimate the potential cost of needed repairs.
The cost of the report/assessment is funded by Preservation Trust of Vermont (Paul Bruhn, $500) and SEP (500).
Ron let us know that it will be a long process. The building is on the State Registrar of historic buildings. One of our greatest resources is Paul, who has offered to help us move forward.
The building is on the market for $325,000.
Next Step is getting the report and what it means for going forward. If Marianna is interested in proceeding, we will ask Paul to come back and talk to us. We also will arrange for some of us to go on the tour we discussed after Paul’s visit in July.
Next meeting: October 7, 2015 at 6:30 at the Swanton Village Complex
Respectfully submitted by Terri O’Shea