Steering Committee Minutes – November 9th, 2016

Swanton Enhancement Project
Steering Committee
November 9, 2016
5:30 – 7:00 pm
Swanton Railroad Museum


Present: Hank & Molly Lambert, Ron & Sandy Kilburn, Reginald Beliveau, Joel Clark, Scott Rheaume, Betsy Fournier, Kathy Lavoie, Nicole Gadouas, Suzanne Washburn.

  • Welcome: Reiew of Agenda & September 21 Meeting Notes


Mr. Beliveau made a motion, seconded by Mr. Rheaume, to approve the September 21, 2016 SEP Minutes. Mrs. Lambert explained that Miss Wheeler would transcribe the notes from audio recordings; she was currently testing a $15 model for quality.

  • Committee Reports
  • Economic Development – Northern Gateway, ED Position


Mr. Beliveau said that Peter Fairweather of Fairweather Consulting had put together a “story map” for the northern gateway project, There had been a meeting on November 3, 2016, and the minutes would be made available.

Mrs. Lambert said she planned to speak with Tim Smith of FCIDC more about EDA grant possibilities. Mrs. Lavoie recommended speaking with Connie Burns, who dealt with those resources.

Mr. Clark said that there had been one applicant for the position of Economic Development Coordinator; this was an individual, not a consultant.

  • Substance Abuse – November 14th Forum and Funding Request


Mrs. Lavoie said that the upcoming public forum was part of a national movement. They had looked at the “crushing” statistics for the abuse of underage drinking for MVU, Franklin County, and national numbers. Mrs. Lavoie said that it the task force’s goal to make Swanton a hub of information and activity about prevention of substance abuse. She would be working with Franklin County Caring Communities to put together a forum on prevention in January.

Mrs. Lavoie made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Kilburn, to spend up to $510 for the food (including beverages and paper products) for the forum on the 14th at the Village Complex. Discussion: Representatives of Rise VT, Northwest Medical Center, and Swanton Police Department would be attending. Crystal Lampman’s “The Health Project” would present the data around underage drinking, followed by a national speaker who was a former alcohol inspector and presented forums on “The New Marijuana” and “The New Alcohol.” Eugene Rich of the Swanton Police Department would close with a story from the community. This would set the stage for the January prevention meeting. Discussion concluded. Motion carried unanimously.

Mrs. Lavoie reminded the group that Operation Happiness’ food drive for Franklin, Highgate, and Swanton would be done on December 10th. The rest of the week, the volunteers would collect food at the town clerk’s office and village complex, and on December 14th, they would pack the food for distribution. Any volunteer help would be greatly appreciated. Mr. Beliveau said that the Boy Scouts were interested in volunteering, and Mrs. Fournier said she could direct youth at MVU who were interested in helping to speak with Jay Hartmann. Operation Happiness would be posted on Front Page Forum and a church youth group would leave flyers around the village. Mrs. Gadouas said she would send that to the Swanton Arts Council list.

  • Outdoor Recreation – Ducky Derby, Skate Park – Betsy Fournier/Ron Kilburn


Mr. Kilburn presented pictures of the Dam Ducky Derby; pictures were taken by George Ouilette. Heather Buczkowski sold tickets before the event and other town officials were involved in keeping the event moving along. The committee involved Betsy Fournier, Heather Buczkowski, Reginald Beliveau, and Ronald Kilburn. Other helpers involved the Swanton Arts Council; the Historical Society; Fire Department; Police Department (Rich Kelley); Rise VT; Peter MacFarlane (finish line and ducky retrieval); Jim Branca (music and entertainment); George Ouelette (photography); Joel Clark (finances).

The food donors included Mother Hubbard’s, Hank and Molly Lambert, and others from the Arts Council and the Steering Committee. Various merchants helped to sell the tickets: Aubuchon Hardware, St. Marie’s (Todd & Jennifer Conger); Mother Hubbards; Maple City; Parts Store; and Swanton Rexall (Spaulding family).

The money earned from the almost 240 duckies: $125 went to the first place duck and $75 went to the last place duck, and $50 went to Peter McFarland (expense reimbursement) and $50 to Jim Branca (music and entertainment).

Mr. Kilburn recommended doing the Dam Ducky Derby again next year, because of the community response. Mr. Clark said that they took in a total of $1120, and after expenses and prizes, the Swanton Historical Society and the Swanton Enhancement Project had received $400 each. Mr. Clark said that he had put a Paypal donation option on the Swanton Enhancement Project website.

Mrs. Fournier said that the skateboarding committee had received a grant from Rise VT for paving the skatepark area at Marble Mill Park.   After receiving several quotes, Hungerford Construction was chosen to do the work.   The project is done and the youth are already using it, and there has been a St. Albans Messenger front-page article about the park. It was great publicity for Swanton’s positive community work. Mr. Beliveau said, “It’s all about the partnerships we have: Rise VT, VLCT, Mark Fenton…” Mark Fenton had recommended a more walkable/bikeable community, so the task force had gathered grants and worked on providing flashing crosswalks, bike lanes, two new crosswalks on First Street, etc. The new parking configuration lost parking spaces in front of the post office and gained more parking spaces in the “square.” Mrs. Gadouas said that the sidewalks on Robin Hood Drive to the Rail Trail were “seamless.”

Mrs. Lambert emphasized  that every little positive thing builds into the whole picture of a healthy community. Mr. Kilburn said that the Rise VT signs would be installed after the paving. Mrs. Fournier anticipated that there would be plenty of money left over to buy the poles for the signs.

  • Communications – Heather


Neither Heather Buczkowski and Rich Kelley were able to be present for this meeting, but Mrs. Lambert said that they were very important parts of the Swanton Enhancement Project.

  • Beautification – Hank


Mr. Lambert said that the task force had attempted twice to meet, but schedules did not allow for it. He would be cleaning up the flowerbeds this week, and disposed of the yard waste at the Alburgh land fill. Mr. Beliveau informed him of the compost pile on Lafar Street.

Mr. Lambert was putting together a draft report for Mr. Beliveau to send in for reimbursement for the three trees they had bought. Frank Shumway reported that about $2100 had been expended, but he would only bill for the $900 grant, so he was effectively contributing $1200. Mrs. Lavoie suggested recognizing contributors and helpers every year in some kind of community publication or at a community celebration. Mrs. Kilburn mentioned the hours put into watering the flowers that were hung on the bridge during the summer.

Mr. Clark agreed that a short report in the Swanton annual reports would help spread the news about the Swanton Enhancement Project. Mr. Beliveau suggested that the Enhancement Project subcommittees should do short presentations at the annual meeting.

  • Partner Reports
  • Arts Council – Scott


Mr. Rheaume had approval to erect an art wall at the elementary school. Nicole Gadouas will represent the Art Council at the state level for a “Creative Zone” seminar in Montpelier on November 10th. Halloween in the Park was very well received and attended, and they will be putting together a Christmas in the Park event for December. Mrs. Lambert suggested that Economic Development is a great tie in with the work of the  Swanton Arts Council: “There is so much potential to bring business into the community through the arts.”

  • Library


There was no presentation because the Library Board was meeting at the same time as the SEP meeting.

  • Finance
  • Income/Expense Report – Joel Clark


Mr. Clark directed the group’s attention to the financial reports. Total funds remaining: $12,715.92. They would track the restricted monies separately, to make it smoother for the various committees. The skate park had available funds totaling $718. Mrs. Kilburn recalled that Notch had donated $1500. Mr. Clark explained how he would organize the reports.   Mrs. Lavoie stated: “Wouldn’t it be great to get to a stage to give out mini-grants for endeavors that were outside our SEP Committee work?”

  • 501(c)3 Process Report – Molly Lambert


Mrs. Lambert said that the 1023 form that provides a checklist for 501(c)(3) filing was beyond her understanding. Nicole Gadouas said that the Arts Council were nearly ready to apply, but it was a very arduous process for their group as well. The committee discussed resources/people who might be able to help get through the steps. Mrs. Lambert said that a contributor had donated more than $5000, which may trigger the need for a tax filing this year. Mrs. Lavoie said she would check with an accounting firm she worked with to see if they might provide some assistance to us in this area.

  • Other
  • Date and Topic for Next Public Forum


The public forum on Underage Drinking will be held on November 14th at 6 p.m. at the Village Complex. The prevention forum will be held in January 2017, date and place TBD.

The next committee meeting for the Northern Gateway project will be held in January 2017  as well.  

The next SEP meeting will be Wednesday, January 18, 2017, at 5:30 p.m unless it makes sense to hold the meeting before one of the meetings noted above.

Mrs. Lavoie said that there was a great need for a regional grant writer. Mrs. Lambert recalled that another community created a consortium that supported a part-time grant-writing position. Mr. Clark affirmed that the Economic Development Coordinator for Swanton would work on grants on the behalf of Swanton, but that would not benefit the school or other regional entities. Mrs. Lavoie said that a regional grant-writing position should be discussed amongst VLCT. Mrs. Fournier asked why there was not more applicants for the Economic Development Coordinator position; Mr. Clark expected it was because it was a part-time position. He wished that the position was permanent and full-time.

Suzanne Washburn said that the Chamber of Commerce, due to low attendance of board meetings, they would have “mixers” with surrounding communities. She thanked the volunteers who helped keep the Chamber of Commerce open more in the summer than it had been in the past.

Mr. Clark made a motion to adjourn at 6:48 p.m., seconded by Mrs. Kilburn. Motion carried.

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