Community Spotlight: Bradford
Nestled between the Connecticut and Waits Rivers across from New Hampshire is the unique town of Bradford, Vermont. Defined by its distinctive topography, the historical town is a picturesque and vibrant Vermont community. For centuries the extensive forests and rivers have created opportunities for mill workers and artisanal wood workers. Due to its unique landscape, the community has two main areas of economic and cultural vitality – the historic Bradford Village and the area surrounding the intersection of Vermont Route 25 and U.S. Route 5.
Residents are creating a vision for the future in an effort to maintain the town’s existing settlement patterns and preserve a strong sense of place. Several progressive initiatives exemplify Bradford as a model of smart growth. In 2006, Bradford was awarded Downtown Designation status, making it eligible for a variety of state funds and financial incentives. The community was awarded $75,000 to support pedestrian accessibility on downtown Barton Street; improved street lighting and sidewalks made the area more visually attractive and a more pedestrian-friendly street.
The Bradford Academy-Woods School Building, home to the Bradford Municipal Offices and the town’s historical society, was originally built in 1893. In 1998, voters agreed to spend tax dollars on renovations and the town also received a Vermont Community Development grant to preserve the building. After renovation, the building has mixed uses including a public community space, auditorium, gymnasium, conference room, and several office spaces.
In the upcoming month, the community will discuss potentially extending the designated commercial area of the lower plain region. Community members will be able to collaborate with town officials in upholding their established development standards. Other topics to be discussed are how to maintain and enhance Bradford’s current downtown as a pedestrian-friendly center, current and future rural and urban land use, and how to best optimize the availability of affordable housing options.