Swanton Enhancement Project
Steering Committee Meeting
September 27, 2017
5:30 – 6:45 pm
Present: Ross Lavoie, Chair; Hank Lambert; Reg Beliveau; Kathy Lavoie; Joel Clark;
Ron Kilburn; Elisabeth Nance; Adam Paxman; Betsy Fournier; Judy Paxman; Katie
Foster, Videographer; Tom Benton, St. Albans Messenger
1. Welcome & Agenda Review
Ross called the meeting to order, welcomed everyone, and thanked the My-T Fine
Restaurant for hosting us.
Betsy added the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation award to New Business
Hank added a workshop idea to New Business
2. Approval of July 29, 2017 meeting minutes – tabled until the next meeting
because draft minutes were not available for review
3. Nomination and Election of Vice Chair –Joel made a motion, seconded by
Sandy, to nominate Taylor Wunsch as Vice Chair. Reg, Kathy, and Hank all
spoke in support of this nomination, noting Taylor is a local resident, UVM
graduate, and is well-traveled. Motion carried.
4. Committee Reports
Economic Development – Adam Paxman
Adam provided a report, and specifically mentioned a possible grant to do a
forum next Fall.
Reg noted that the Economic Development Coordinator has been able to take
some of the load off him, and has been tasked with additional duties around
the Village Center Designation program.
Adam commended Elisabeth on the job she has been doing and thanked the
Selectboard for “making this happen.”
Ross, too, noted that having Elisabeth at the Planning Commission meetings
has been very helpful and provides needed information as that Committee
works to make Swanton a more attractive community for businesses.
Kathy noted that the work Elisabeth does with FCIDC is working, too, from a
Adam strongly encourages the Selectboard to continue to support the position.
Joel referenced reports that Elisabeth provides to him as the Chair of the
Selectboard and reminded those present that now is the time to express their
opinions to the members of the Selectboard as they begin work on next year’s
Judy asked if the task force reports are available anywhere; it was determined
they are not and should be.
Elisabeth thanked everyone for their kinds words, noting that there are great
things happening in Swanton and she is happy to be a part of them.
Elisabeth noted that there is an Economic Development page on the website
that will be updated soon, and made specific note of the walking tour with
state agency representatives the following week.
Reduction of Substance Abuse – Kathy Lavoie
Kathy provided a written report, highlighting that the task force has completed
the second year of the NOTCH Summer Day Camp, held this year at the
Swanton Recreation facility and fields. Camp attendees averaged between 8
and 12 years of age, and counselors came from MVU.
The task force continues to partner with other organizations to deliver forums
on individual and community health, specifically Truckers Against Drugs,
Franklin County Caring Communities, and Prevent Child Abuse Vermont.
Ross noted that MVU and BFA could be great partners with the camp and is
something to discuss; Building Trades is looking for ways to get involved in
Kathy reminded the Committee that the task force will be hosting a prevention
forum in November; details will be made available as soon as possible.
Outdoor Recreation – Betsy Fournier
Betsy provided a written report, and noted specifically that the wayfinding
signs are up in the village but the task force is waiting on the town to do the
Dam Ducky Derby was fun, and the collaboration with the Arts Council
worked well, raising $1,040.
Betsy asked, since she is involved in the task force and with the Recreation
Commission, how she can best serve both entities without doubling up. Kathy
asked that events are identified as either the Rec Commission or the task
force, as appropriate. It was decided that the task force meeting would be a
Recreation Commission agenda topic for now with the option to revisit in a
year or so.
Hank noted that the original concept of the SEP was to get things started and
that outdoor recreation had been identified as an area that needed attention.
He wonders now if it is appropriate for the Outdoor Recreation task force to
cede authority or merge with the Recreation Commission.
Betsy noted that large outdoor maps highlighting access points are ready to be
installed so she is looking for suggestions. She thought the Town and Village
offices as well as the Recreation facility would be appropriate locations and
informed the Committee that Maple City Candy is interested in having a map,
Betsy also noted upcoming events.
Ross suggested Taylor might be a good catalyst to energize the task force
given it has fallen dormant in recent months.
Betsy suggested the SEP use Highgate’s Facebook Happenings page as a
guide to communicate events in a way that would combine all the myriad
Swanton pages into one central location.
Judy asked if anyone had reached out to Heather Buczkowski, who has been
chair, to see what her thoughts and plans are.
Beautification – Hank Lambert
Hank thanked Sandy, Ross, and Marie for their work on the flower boxes.
Reg and Hank will work over the winter to come up with a plan to deal with
the 35 lilacs that were donated; it is likely a temporary solution will be
necessary to buy time while a plan can be worked out.
There was discussion about the flower boxes on the bridge; Ross plans to take
them down to store them for the winter. Kathy informed the Committee that
Wagners would donate autumn flowers to replace the summer plants that have
Swanton Arts Council
Judy noted the Arts Council is very busy; the Arts Council was the last big
event; Darcy Benoit did a great job with it. The Arts Council is working on
another video; just got another grant from the Vermont Arts Council; are
working on a community arts show; hope to do another series of pop-up
events; and many other events.
Judy talked about the partnership with the Swanton Chamber where the SAC
will help staff the Chamber in return for space so the artist can display and
market their art.
5. Income / Expense Report
Joel provided a written report. Betsy asked for clarification on the $83 expense,
which was determined to be for the purchase of the “First St.” red petunias.
Kathy asked if the specific task force could be designated on the report for the
restricted funds. Joel will add to future reports but needs to have that information.
6. Old Business
Approval of the Annual Report – Hank made a motion, seconded by Kathy, to
approve the Annual Report as written. Motion carried.
7. New Business
Substance Abuse task force fall Community Event update – Kathy provided
the update as part of the task force report
Economic Development task force winter 2018 event update – tabled until the
next meeting given it is still some months away
Discuss Communications task force – This was discussed during task force
Discuss Federal 501(c)(3) application – Ross has not yet had a chance to talk
to an attorney who may be able to assist us in completing this form. Suzanne
suggested talking with Judy who went through the application process for the
Bylaws – tabled until the next meeting due to time constraints
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation award – Betsy informed the Committee
that Swanton will be applying for the Round Two award in the amount of
$25,000. Reg, Hank, Kathy, Joel, and Ross volunteered to assist with writing
the essay, which is due November 2 , 2017. Elisabeth will send copies of the
previous (Round One) application.
Hank asked if there was any interest in having him conduct a workshop on
how to effectively chair a meeting. The workshop would be open to
Selectboard, Planning Commission, Development Review Board members,
Village Trustees, and anyone else interested.
Sandy reflected on how great it is to see Ross, who was part of the first
Enhancement Project group, as Chair. Ross responded that he is grateful for
the opportunity and thanked Hank and Molly for their confidence in him.
8. Next Meeting Date – November 29, 2017 with place and time to be determined.
9. Adjourn – Elisabeth made a motion, seconded by Ron, at adjourn at 6:46 p.m.
Ross thanked the My-T Fine Restaurant and reminded committee members to
suggest a location for the next meeting.