Project Londonderry continues to make headway Working groups collaborate with local, regional concerns

Leslie Benson’s Blacksmith Shop in South Londonderry. Photo by Everett Vaile (1863-1961) Courtesy of the Londonderry Arts and Historical Society.

Project Londonderry, a citizen-driven initiative, has taken steps to advance ideas for increased economic vitality, improvements to the downtown area and greater access to recreation and outdoor activities.

At the request of Project Londonderry and the Planning Commission, the Select Board recently approved application for a grant to complete a Main Street Study and Master Plan for the North Village. In addition, Project Londonderry is working in tandem with the Town of Londonderry on a collaboration with the Vermont Council on Rural Development to engage residents and facilitate public involvement in plans for the town’s revitalization.

The Main Street Study and Master Plan will provide a plan for revitalizing Londonderry’s primary commercial area. The study will assess:

  • environmental factors,
  • economic growth potential and
  • the ongoing vitality of the North Village.

Key to the planning process will be engagement with residents and government entities to ensure everyone’s interests are reflected in the Master Plan. Ultimately, the Master Plan will provide a blueprint for needed investments and funding that will be sought through grants, donors and private investors.

The collaboration with the Vermont Council on Rural Development will further goals for community engagement.  VCRD will work with Project Londonderry to hear what residents want, what is important and how they would like Londonderry to thrive and grow.

Throughout Vermont, VCRD has helped towns realize their goals for affordable housing, growth of current and future businesses, preparing youth for the future economy and leading initiatives to address the challenges of climate change, flood plains and economic change. VCRD will also help Project Londonderry identify state and federal resources to realize its goals and vision.

Project Londonderry has four key working groups:

Economic Vitality Working Group has been working closely with local businesses to guide them to resources and help during Covid-19 restrictions. To date, the working group has focused on assembling information concerning the challenges faced by the town’s businesses, including retailers and recreational facilities such as Magic Mountain. Economic Vitality is looking into ways to improve marketing efforts for local businesses, including improvements to the shopping center’s information kiosk and the development of on-line information.

Main Street Working Group continues to identify improvements to enhance the North Village for livability, business growth and access to services and recreation. At the October meeting, the group discussed the Mill Pond Dam and the need to have it assessed for functionality and safety, possible improvements and potential uses for the dam. Also discussed were ideas such as banners with seasonal themes as a way to create a fresh, welcoming look to the village area.

Recreation/Outdoor Resources Working Group is focused on three key priorities:

  1. Mapping town trails to be available on-line and as a brochure/map for residents and guests;
  2. Developing trail connectivity across North and South Londonderry and a wider trail system to link Londonderry and Grafton via Glebe Mountain; and
  3. A pop-up skating event to take place this winter.

In addition to studying existing trails around Glebe Mountain, the working group is seeking to collaborate with organizations such as West River Trail, Mountain Valley Trail Association and Green Mountain Club. The group also plans to have conversations with the Windham Hill Pinnacle Association and the Cross Vermont Trail Association.

Community Connections Working Group will work closely with Town of Londonderry on the collaboration with the Vermont Council on Rural Development. In preparation for this collaboration — and to ensure access Project Londonderry’s full roster of plans, activities and meetings — Community Connections has taken the lead on developing the Project Londonderry website slated to be launched in January 2021.

To learn more about Project Londonderry or to find out how to participate,  please email: projectlondonderry@gmail.com

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Filed Under: Community & Arts in BriefCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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