Present: Ross Lavoie, Chair; Taylor Wunsch, Vice Chair; Hank Lambert; Kathy Lavoie; Joel Clark; Ron Kilburn; Sandy Kilburn; Elisabeth Nance; Rich Kelly; Betsy Fournier; Judy Paxman; Katie Foster, Videographer
1. Welcome & Agenda Review
Ross called the meeting to order, welcomed everyone, and thanked the Swanton Historical Society for hosting the Steering Committee. Ron gave a brief overview of the historical society and what kinds of programs it holds. Joel asked to move the Income/Expense Report to after Agenda Review because he has another meeting. Discussion of the Winters Project was added to Any Other Necessary Business
2. Approval of July 19 & September 27, 2017 meeting minutes – tabled until the next meeting because draft minutes were not available for review
3. Income / Expense Report Review and Discussion – Joel noted the unrestricted funds are now listed by task force. It was agreed that the $500 donation from Anonymous will be moved to unrestricted.
4. Winters Project Discussion
Ron asked if the SEP wants to do a letter or resolution in support of the project. Elisabeth volunteered to draft a letter to be signed by Ross as Chair of the Steering Committee in support. Hank made a motion, seconded by Sandy, to authorize Elisabeth to draft a letter of support for the Winters project. Motion carried. Ross suggested the teen center be approached about hosting the next SEP Steering Committee meeting. Elisabeth with bring this up at the next teen center meeting. Betsy reminded everyone of the teen center open house / potluck on December 7, 2017 at 6:30. Judy asked if the teen center meetings are open; Elisabeth will confirm.
5. Committee Reports
Taylor did a brief “hello” prior to the committee reports
Economic Development – Elisabeth Nance for Adam Paxman
Elisabeth reported Swanton had been awarded a Municipal Planning Grant to host an economic development forum in the fall of 2018, which would be preceded by a kick-off event in the spring in the guise of a community event. Elisabeth also reported the Selectboard approved the Economic Development Coordinator position through 2018 and thanked everyone for their support.
Elisabeth mentioned the VCRD Climate Economy Model Communities Program to see if the SEP supported applying to the program. Betsy noted many of the things in the application are things Swanton is doing. Betsy and Hank expressed interest in working on the application.
Reduction of Substance Abuse – Kathy Lavoie
Kathy provided a review of the October Prevention forum, informing the committee about 60 people attended and had a great panel discussion, and that Sandy received was the first recipient of the Sandy Kilburn Primary Prevention Award that will be given to a NOTCH counselor going forward. Kathy talked about a housing summit to be held sometime in the spring or
summer. Kathy noted a group will be going back down to Rutland to meet with the Project Vision group, along with other partners. This is tentatively scheduled for mid-January. Kathy also informed the Steering Committee that Green Mountain Transit is holding a meeting to discuss proposed route changes at the St. Albans City Hall on December 11, from 4:00 to 6:00. Kathy mentioned there is discussion to make the substance abuse task force a more general health committee.
Outdoor Recreation – Betsy Fournier
Betsy needs the town signs from Ron so they can be installed. Betsy and Elisabeth talked about the regional outdoor recreation meeting being held in December. This is a collaborative between Enosburg, St. Albans, and Swanton to begin with but the goal is to bring other partners into the conversation. Ron reported the Highway Department took the boat access ramp out for the winter. Ron reported the Northern Forest Canoe Trail is producing a short video about communities along the Missisquoi River talking about how the river connects communities like Swanton, Highgate, Enosburg. The goal of the video is to show paddlers what Swanton and other communities offer.
Rich informed the committee that Heather does not have the time to be involved which means it is down to him at the moment.
There was discussion about the various Facebook pages that have been created and who posts to them. Rich will coordinate a discussion on Facebook specifically, and social media more generally.
Beautification – Hank Lambert & Sandy Kilburn
Hank emphasized how beautification is an essential element of community development as a prelude to reporting they had come up with a 5-year plan. As part of that plan the Beautification Task Force will be meeting with village officials to determine the locations to plant trees. He hopes the town will formally adopt the Swanton Urban Forestry Management Plan, which he and Reg worked on. The task force is identifying additional places to create more flower beds and is looking to add large flower pots at strategic locations in the village. Hank noted the task force had developed a ‘simple survey” that was distributed to key locations in the village and to parents via the Wednesday Weekly. The task force also produced a survey for the students to complete, as well.
The Steering Committee agreed to discuss providing the Beautification task force with $2,000 to plant and maintain plants and trees. This would be in addition to the $2,500 the task force plans to raise. Ross suggested having a conversation with Joel and to have a conversation with Heath about how St. Albans does plant maintenance. Taylor suggested looking at the Rec
Commission’s field maintenance staff. Judy asked if the task force would be interested in a kinetic sculpture.
Swanton Arts Council
Judy noted the Arts Council just had its annual governing body meeting and named its Board members. The SAC will be undergoing a strategic review in February 2018. Judy gave an overview of recent events, including the Halloween in the Park, Swanton Arts Show, the local artists fest, and, of course, Swanee II. Upcoming events include festival of trees, monthly writers group, business of art series begins in January, Swanee III, and many other events. Judy noted communications is an issue for them, too.
6. Old Business
Federal 501(c)(3) updated – Ross has been trading phone calls with his contact but will keep trying
Bylaws – tabled until the next meeting. Hank noted the arts council may be listed while Beautification is not; communication might need to be listed. Ross noted specific committees are not listed.
Hank asked Betsy about the dual Rec Commission / Outdoor Rec Task Force roles discussed at the last meeting. There was discussion about the scope of the Rec Commission, which may or may not include a community center.
7. Any Other Necessary Business
Kathy mentioned Operation Happiness and asked for volunteers
8. Next Meeting Date – January 24, 2018 tentatively at the teen center at 5:30 p.m.
9. Adjourn – Sandy made a motion, seconded by Ron, at adjourn at 7:14 p.m.