Vermont’s Downtowns Shine

Pictured from left to right: Bonita Bedard, Carol Wells, Leanne Tingay and Joss Besse.

During this holiday season as you shop in one of our 23 designated downtowns, take a moment and look around. Notice the details of a restored historic building; participate in a holiday event; relax in a newly created pocket park; be cheered by the festive decorations.

We are proud of our downtowns, but it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and creativity to ensure that these centers remain the heart and soul of our communities. The State’s Downtown Program recognized this hard work with the Green Mountain Awards at their November Conference.

The recently renovated Town Hall Theatre in Middlebury, which was the site for several Conference sessions, was celebrated as the “Best Building Renovation.” Once abandoned, it’s now a key landmark. Wilmington received kudos for “Best Public Space Improvement” for a community gathering place in the center of town. The first annual Pocock Rocks Music Festival and Street Fair in Bristol won as the “Best Special Event.”

People are at the heart of these efforts and one of the most touching moments came when Karen Bresnahan of Downtown St. Albans won for “Outstanding Staff Achievement” – and she was nominated by a fellow downtown director. Paul Trudell of the Morristown Alliance for Culture and Commerce in Morristown was chosen as “Volunteer of the Year” for his work fundraising and donating his professional drafting and landscaping skills.

So, take time this season to support the efforts of countless volunteers, businesses, and non-profit organizations that work to make our downtowns special – shop local!