Fund Lastest in Area Investors
The recent establishment of the Wilmington Fund VT, reported in last week’s edition, should come as welcome news to any and all worried about how the community will recover from Tropical Storm Irene’s devastation. The fund’s goal of raising enough capital to purchase and preserve historic buildings in Wilmington is amazingly noble. It shows that there are more than enough folks out there who care about Wilmington and the Deerfield Valley so much that they are willing to invest their time and their capital in the area’s recovery. The fact that there are those willing to invest in the valley should come as no surprise. The area’s history bears that out.
The well-publicized book series “The Coming of the Train” recounts the history of the industrialization of the Deerfield River valley during the late 1800s and early 1900s. That industrialization came about because of successful capitalists who saw opportunity embedded in the natural resources of the Deerfield River valley. Initially, the resource was timber. Logging became a full-scale industry along the river, as wood was cut and used for everything from paper pulp to chairs to wooden boxes. The river became the conduit to ship the lumber, and the railroads were built to take the timber from holding ponds on the river to factories and mills downstream and downcountry.
Eventually, the Deerfield River itself became the resource. It was dammed in numerous places as part of the largest hydroelectric development of the time. The power of the river was converted to power that could be transmitted. The players were different, but again there were people more than willing to invest in the region.
In the more recent past, others have come to invest in the area. Those entrepreneurs saw the vast potential in the region. Again, the potential was in natural resources. But this time it was the terrain around the river, and the product was recreation. As the ski areas around the Deerfield River valley were developed, a new breed of adventurer came to the valley. They were not looking to exploit the natural resources of the region, but to immerse themselves in and enjoy its natural beauty.
In the immediate past, we still find many who have been willing to invest in the region. Both Haystack and Mount Snow resorts have dynamic new owners who have shown a willingness to boldly invest in their holdings. As those resorts have grown and developed, others have also invested in the area, including a large number of second-home owners. Which brings us back full circle to the Wilmington Fund VT. Founded by second-home owners, the fund seeks to preserve the community in a unique way.
We applaud the effort, and tip our hat to all who have been willing to invest in Wilmington and the surrounding Deerfield Valley. Local, visitor, or second-home owner, because of your investments large and small the valley will come back better than it was before.