Tag Archives: Wilmington Works

Winter 2013 • SO Vermont Arts & Living

7 Feb

Wilmington Strong

Posted on Sep 27, 2013

By Katherine P. Cox

Out of the Rubble: Wilmington Two Years After Irene

Wilmington

Raging waters tear through Wilmington as Tropical Storm Irene moves through the region in 2011

Unless you were there, just by looking around, it’s hard to fathom that barely two years ago the heavy rains of Tropical Storm Irene unleashed devastating floodwaters that raged through Wilmington, ravaged downtown, and left no business untouched.

But many were there. That’s why, today, the town is just a bit more cheered by its abundant flowers and plants delighting from planters and window boxes throughout town, and why merchants so warmly welcome visitors into the storefronts they’ve rescued — and revitalized — from the ruins.

Wilmington6

Two years later, Wilmington continues to rebuild itself and its community economy with the help of efforts like the Wilmington Fund VT.

Their stories, and the efforts of so many affected on Aug. 28, 2011, are a testament to the resiliency of the townspeople and the fierce community spirit that some say have made Wilmington even better than before.

The Fashion Plate consignment shop cleans out after the flood

The Fashion Plate consignment shop cleans out after the flood

Long before the ground was dry the volunteers came by the hundreds, said Al Wurzberger, who owns the 1836 Country Store on West Main Street. His wife, Sue, owns the historic Norton House, a quilt and fabric store, next door.

The floodwaters had reached halfway up the buildings. “Everything was lost; half a million dollars lost, at least,” Al Wurzberger said.

“They [the volunteers] were tall, they were short, they were skinny, they were fat, they were young, they were old. They were black, they were white, they were Catholics, agnostics, and atheists. And they argued and debated with each other as they gutted and rebuilt the Norton House and the 1836 Country Store. If it weren’t for the volunteers, none of us could have survived,” he said.

Dot's Restaurant, damage severely in the flood, but expected to reopen this fall.

Dot’s Restaurant, damage severely in the flood, but expected to reopen this fall.

Ann Manwaring, a Wilmington resident of more than 40 years and a state representative for the past seven, agrees: “The volunteers that showed up were just extraordinary. They started showing up in droves.”

Everyone recalls how the Chamber of Commerce set to work matching volunteers with the many businesses that needed help digging out, cleaning off, stacking debris, rescuing what they could. Livelihoods were washed out; traditions flooded out.

Streep

Meryl Streep and Tamara Kilmurray. Photo copyright Carolyn L. Bates.

Every business was affected. Some 40 businesses and 100 employees were out of jobs; some 20 apartments were damaged, leaving many homeless, Manwaring says.

Beyond the army of volunteers, Manwaring lauds Mount Snow, which provided temporary housing to some of those left homeless following the flood.

As vital as that army of volunteers was to the cleanup effort, Dan and Tamara Kilmurray, who have owned a home in Wilmington for 10 years, and have vacationed in the area for 30, knew more had to be done — that more aid would be needed in the months and years to come.

“The damage was extreme,” Dan Killmurray said.

Many people had no flood insurance, and Irene had come on the heels of the recession, compounding the misery for many facing downtown’s already-boarded-up buildings. And so the Kilmurrays felt the town needed economic stimulus.

Wilmington Fund VT goes to work

Organizing a board of directors, they established the Wilmington Fund VT (www.thewilmingtonfundvt.org), aimed at supporting Wilmington’s recovery by raising funds to help repair damaged buildings and to promote commerce and business.

Wilmington5Their tools: grants, low interest loans, real estate ownership, other investment opportunities, and partnerships with like-minded entities. Their goal was to promote job growth and economic opportunity for area residents.

Phone calls, letters and fund-raisers — including a Joan Osborne concert and a private dinner with Meryl Streep — have enough capital to allow the Wilmington Fund VT to provide grants, help attract new businesses to town, and help build a new municipal parking lot.

One fund-raiser last summer was dedicated to help Dot’s Restaurant recover. This popular gathering place had been severely damaged. Not to worry: an outdoor barbecue and concert netted $26,000, Kilmurray said.

“We’re doing a lot of work to help support the economic vitality of Wilmington,” Kilmurray said, “but there are still a lot of unoccupied buildings. Our biggest problem: we don’t have enough people looking for grants that want to start a business in the village.”

According to Kilmurray, the grant process requires that applicants have a business plan, a well-thought-out proposal, and startup capital.

Although the Kilmurrays were the driving force behind the Wilmington Fund VT, they’re quick to note it’s not just a one-, two-, or nine-person effort, considering the number of people serving on the Fund’s board:

Many have donated time and money, they said, and the organization is all volunteer.

“Every penny of donated money has gone into the fund to build the economy of the town. We do all the events ourselves and review the grants ourselves,” Tamara Kilmurray said.

Julie Lineberger, who, with her husband, architect Joseph Cincotta of the architecture firm LineSync in Wilmington, serves on the board of directors of the Wilmington Fund VT.

She attributes part of the success of high-end fund-raisers such as the Streep dinner to the fact that “the community is larger than we thought it was, and the second-home owners really stepped up,” she said, noting that the appeal came from “a combination of Meryl Streep and helping our community heal.”

Lineberger points to a renewed Main Street, and names all of its success stories, businesses returned and just starting out: Bartleby’s Books, the 1836 Country Store, the Norton House, the Incurable Romantic, Jim McGrath Gallery, Chapman’s In-Town Antiques, and more.

“It’s a start,” says Lineberger, who envisions an economically viable historic district that provides full-time jobs year-round. “Through the Wilmington Fund [VT], we hope to inspire others to establish or re-establish business in the village. It takes vision, inspiration, a lot of hard work, and some capital. We need someone who’s willing to take a chance,” she says.

On her wish list: a bike shop, a camera shop, and a bakery.

Like many others in Wilmington, she describes herself as hopeful: “I see people trying. I see people working together.”

Beyond Imagination imagines

Melinda Coombs is one of the beneficiaries of the Wilmington Fund VT. She opened Beyond Imagination, a clothing and home goods store on North Main Street last September, partially at the urging of the Kilmurrays and others who felt a boutique was needed in town after Manyu’s, a clothing store here, was wiped out by the flood.

Coombs had worked at Manyu’s, and has a personal stake in the vitality of Wilmington. She’s from Wilmington, as are her grandparents, parents, child, and grandchildren.

“It was not an option to just move,” she says.

Coombs says she was encouraged by other businesses that had been damaged and had come back:

“It made me realize that the more businesses there are, the better it is for everybody. And it may be an incentive for others.”

The support from the Wilmington Fund VT was important, she said. “I feel confident that eventually the town will be better than before. There’s a new energy in town.”

In-Town Antiques sets up shop

Len and Diane Chapman, longtime residents of Wilmington, also decided to invest in downtown, with partners David and Joann Manning and assistance from the Wilmington Fund VT.

“We had an antiques shop in a big barn [outside of town] and we were only doing weekends. The four of us got together and said, ‘Why don’t we open something in town?’” Len Chapman recalls.

Chapman’s In-Town Antiques opened on West Main Street last October. In addition to providing a more visible location for their antiques business, the Chapmans said they wanted to help the town.

Len Chapman has lived in Wilmington for 40 years.

“The town has been good to me. I wanted to return the favor. I have great friends and neighbors here,” he said.

Moving downtown has been worth the investment, he reports, and it has helped the antiques shop that’s still in the barn a few miles away.

Rescuing Bartleby’s

Bartleby’s Books, like its neighbors on West Main Street, suffered heavy damage from the flood.

“Bartleby’s had about four feet of water flow through the main floor of the store,” said owner Lisa Sullivan. “We lost 90 percent of our inventory and all of our shelving. The building sustained damage to its electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems, as well as windows, façade, and drywall.”

Some of her close friends, as well as customers and people they’d never met, showed up to pitch in with repairs to the building.

“So many people helped! We renovated with an eye for flood mitigation and reopened three months after the flood,” she explains.

And like her neighbors, she is optimistic about the future of the town.

Meanwhile, folks have come together to forge a path for the future in ways that they had not considered previously.

Wilmington Works

The town recently attained downtown designation status and formed a downtown organization named Wilmington Works, essentially a subcommittee of the Wilmington Fund VT and composed of 11 members representing downtown businesses, local government, and the Chamber of Commerce.

This new organization will help organize and drive activities critical to making downtown Wilmington a vibrant and vital place, Sullivan predicts.

Ann Coleman innovated — artfully

Artist Ann Coleman arguably was the most dramatically affected by the storm, and her plans for a new gallery may be among the most innovative — and symbolic — of the future of Wilmington.

In her art gallery on West Main Street, she showcased her own paintings and prints in addition to the work of other artists and artisans. She and her husband were finishing up renovations to the space when Irene hit.

When the rains stopped, she went downtown to see the damage. At the barricades downtown, a policewoman told her, “Prepare yourself. It’s not good.”

“I looked down and saw an empty hole where the gallery had been,” Coleman said. “I was expecting that I got flooded. I didn’t expect it would be gone.”

Ann Coleman Gallery was swept down the flooded Deerfield River, taking with it original paintings spanning 33 years of work, over 400 prints, and the works of the other artists.

Coleman set up temporary digs at various sites in the aftermath, and last February reopened her gallery in a storefront on North Main Street.

She’s contemplating building a new place where her previous gallery sat, of course. If the plans go through, the new building will float, too — it’s designed to — but it will float in place.

That’s thanks to Wilmington architect Joseph Cincotta, who’s designed a structure that works with floods, like a boat dock. The building is anchored on heavy metal piers, and when the waters rise the electricity snaps off, plumbing stops up, and the structure, untroubled, bobs.

’People came together…’

Fellow artist Jim McGrath watched the storm from his nearby apartment, and painted the rain and the water rising against the buildings: another kind of landscape.

He had recently closed his gallery, but had stored some 50 original paintings and his tools and paint brushes in the basement of the Parmalee and Howe building at the center of town.

The basement and first floor of the brick building were flooded, and McGrath lost all his work.

That said, what he talks about today is not loss, but praise for his fellow townspeople:

“People came together. Everyone came out of the woodwork to help. Everyone — locals and second-home owners — got on the same page. That was something to see.”

Today he has a gallery again, on West Main Street, and is among the many businesses along the street that are back in operation. He says he’s optimistic: Better things are in store for Wilmington.

“There’s a sense that with a couple of nudges in the right direction, we’ll have something going again,” he adds.

From Nantucket to Wilmington, with coffee

Things are already moving in that direction. Dot’s Restaurant has reopened; a sign on the historic Parmalee and Howe Building promises a new restaurant and bar; and a coffee shop — Folly Foods — has opened at 33 West Main St.

Peter Wallace, who owns Folly Foods with his wife, Kathleen, describes the place as a coffee bar, juice bar, and dairy bar.

Restaurateurs on Nantucket for more than 30 years, the Wallaces sold their restaurant on the island and have become year-round Wilmington residents.

Fresh-baked goods, ice cream and some retail food — such as local honey — are also offered at Folly’s Foods.

Wallace says he hopes to fill the void left when a former coffee shop closed after the storm.

“We’re really excited about it,” he said, explaining that he and his wife, like so many others, were inspired by the many stores that were damaged by the flood and have rebounded.

“We wanted to join the community and bring it back to life. We want to encourage the future of Wilmington by helping it become the vibrant, cool place that it is,” he said.

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Brattleboro Reformer Article: Wilmington hailed for Irene recovery efforts

31 Aug

By CHRIS MAYS / Reformer Staff

Posted:   08/30/2013 09:32:28 PM EDT | Updated:   about 3 hours ago

 

This aerial photograph taken following the historic flooding of August 2011, shows downtown Wilmington, looking south down the Deerfield River. (Austin Danforth/Bennington Banner)

WILMINGTON — As you look down Main Street, activity is steadily building after two years since Tropical Storm Irene ruined many of the downtown businesses.

On Aug. 28, at Gov. Peter Shumlin’s press conference at Memorial Hall on the day of the second anniversary, people gathered to hear the message that Vermonters had worked together to rebuild the communities that had been destroyed by Irene.

“It was a good way to close the two-year celebration because he was here right after the flood and here again last year, when they met at Dot’s to do the reconstruction of Dot’s,” said Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy. “This is a closure issue for the state.”

One resident had remarked that the day was similar to the day after the storm: sunny with blue skies and a comfortable breeze. Together, the community is still picking up the pieces.

Employees of Dot’s Restaurant, which is scheduled to open next month, handed out free bowls of their famous homemade chili. They had set up a table outside their building, which had been destroyed by Irene.

A special fundraising effort called Rebuild Dot’s had assisted with costs associated with reopening its location in Wilmington.

The Wilmington Fund Vermont was established by Dan and Tamara Kilmurray, two long-time second homeowners. They have worked with residents whose efforts have assisted in the funding of several projects, including the re-paving of a village parking lot.

The Friends of the Valley is a group made up of second homeowners who wanted to support recovery efforts after Irene. The Wilmington Flood Relief was another charity created to aid the town during the days following the storm. Both were named during the press conference

While places like Bartleby’s Bookstore and Wahoo’s Eatery had reopened almost immediately with monumental recovery efforts, there are still empty storefronts that Shumlin had noted.

Since Wilmington’s village was approved for the Vermont Downtown Program, the organization Wilmington Works was created. It has worked with other groups to attempt to make use of those buildings and accomplish other goals towards restoring vibrancy.

“One of the best outcomes of Irene has been the ability of people to work together and solve problems today,” said Wilmington Works Board Co-Chair John Gannon. “We can really move this town forward in the next couple of months, next couple of years. We look forward to making the town of Wilmington a better place.”

Fellow Co-Chair Lisa Sullivan spoke of how the community was back to work putting itself back together. She mentioned the long term recovery efforts that several residents are enthusiastic about.

“I wish I could say the economy has recovered but there is still a lot of work,” Sullivan said. “There are still too many empty buildings, which is the primary focus of recovery (now).”

State Treasurer Beth Pearce briefly mentioned the story of how Wilmington Town Clerk Susie Haughwout saved important records of the town. Her car was destroyed on Main Street due to the flooding that occurred after she rescued the documents.

Haughwout’s most recent efforts have been focused on making all the town records digital to prevent the risk of destruction.

“This is a success story that came out of Wilmington,” Pearce said of the town’s recovery efforts.

Murphy told the Reformer that there were still at least a couple of people waiting on buyout programs to be completed. But as far as a municipality, the Whites Road Bridge is the final recovery project for the town. It is slated to be done by the end of September.

“We’re happy to be done with Irene and looking forward to moving forward,” he said.

State Sen. Bob Hartwell weighed in on the efforts as well. He has lived in Wilmington since the middle of April.

“Based on what we see, I think we’re going to go a very far way,” Hartwell concluded.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.

18 July 2013 Deerfield Valley News

18 Jul
Star power will be on display at Saturday fundraiser and concert
by Jack Deming
2 hours ago | 94 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joan Osborne

Joan Osborne

WILMIGTON- The Wilmington Fund VT was created after Tropical Storm Irene to promote and raise funds for the economic vitality and recovery of Wilmington. This Saturday, the fund is calling in some star power to help, as seven-time Grammy-award nominee Joan Osborne is slated to perform at the Hermitage Inn.

Osborne may be most famous for her multiplatinum 1995 hit “One of Us,” but her career has spanned multiple decades and genres from blues to country, and soul to pop. She has played with Motown sidemen and post-Grateful Dead reunion bands, but Saturday night she will play to a tented audience of 300, with all proceeds going to the Wilmington Fund VT.

According to Wilmington Fund VT secretary Julie Lineberger, Osborne’s performance is sure to be high-energy. “I am beyond happy,” said Lineberger. “It’s such an intimate setting and it’s us supporting ourselves, and the valley supporting each other. We’re going to have a blast.”

The Wilmington Fund VT reached out to Osborne’s promoter to find out if she was interested in performing, and the date chosen just so happened to work with Osborne’s schedule. Local musician Colby Dix will kick off the evening with an acoustic set, starting at 8 pm, which will feature songs off his new album. Dix is excited to be what he called “another layer to an exciting event. I’m a big fan of Joan Osborne’s because she stayed true to herself through so many career passages and styles of music. I’m quite excited to be opening for her.”

Last year the Wilmington Fund VT hosted Aztec Two-Step as part of a similar concert fundraiser for rebuilding Dot’s Restaurant, one of nine businesses Lineberger says the fund has helped rebuild or open since Irene. This year, they helped to fund the Moving Wall, Wilmington Works (Downtown Designation), and the Independent Television and Film Festival coming to Wilmington and Dover in September, as well as a parking lot in downtown Wilmington.

“The Wilmington Fund VT is great because we are a private organization,” said Lineberger. “We can move quickly and nimbly to provide financial assistance unlike the bureaucracy of a state or federally funded program.”

The next step for the Wilmington Fund VT will be to focus its efforts on filling more unoccupied buildings in the downtown, while continuing to help the existing ones. Lineberger says Wilmington Fund VT may focus its efforts on Wilmington, but that’s because it is the hub of the valley. “We feel it is vital not just for Wilmington but for the valley to have a vibrant historic district in the town of Wilmington,” said Lineberger.

Tickets for Joan Osborne live at the Hermitage Inn are $100 and can be purchased at TheWilmingtonFundVT.EventBrite.com. Complimentary beer and wine are included with purchase of a ticket.

Read more: Deerfield Valley News – Star power will be on display at Saturday fundraiser and concert

7.15.13 Brattleboro Reformer: Joan Osborne Concert

15 Jul
 
 

Joan Osborne concert to benefit village

By CHRIS MAYS / Reformer Staff

Posted:   07/15/2013 03:00:00 AM EDT
 

Monday July 15, 2013WILMINGTON — Seven-time Grammy Award nominee Joan Osborne is coming to play at the Hermitage Inn as a fundraiser that will benefit the village of Wilmington.

“It’s going to be such an intimate setting to see her in,” said Wilmington Fund VT Board Secretary Julie Lineberger. “I think it’s going to be phenomenal.”

On July 20, Osborne will play for a maximum of 300 ticket holders. Local musician Colby Dix will take the stage before her, playing an acoustic set. Organizers had contacted Osborne about the concert. She had the date open and agreed to perform at a reduced rate.

The proceeds will go to benefit the Wilmington Fund VT, which was created in response to the damage of Tropical Storm Irene.

Dan and Tamara Kilmurray started the fund, which currently has a board made up of nine people. The board raises money to assist businesses and projects in the downtown village of Wilmington, where Irene had a lasting effect.

“So far, we’ve assisted in the funding of nine projects and/or businesses reopening or opening for the first time since Irene,” said Lineberger.

The Wilmington Fund VT supplies grants to businesses in the village district as well as projects that go towards enhancing its economic recovery.

It has funded improvements to a parking lot and setting up lighting for the property. Funds were also used to assist with the Vietnam Moving Wall Memorial in June.

Independent Television and Film Festival Organizer Phil Gilpin Jr. gained the support of the board after finding places within the village where some of the festival’s events could be held. Now, the festival will take place in both Dover and Wilmington.

The Wilmington Fund VT Board recently assisted the town of Wilmington with receiving its official downtown designation status.

“After this concert, we’ll go full force on what our next big project will be in the village,” said Lineberger.

Last year, there was a similar fundraising event. The proceeds went specifically towards the reopening of Dot’s Restaurant.

This year’s concert will be held in a tent at the Hermitage Inn at 25 Handle Road in West Dover. Tickets are $100, which also includes wine and beer, and are available through TheWilmingtonFundVT.EventBrite.com.

The proceeds will go towards different projects that the Wilmington Fund VT Board has its eye on.

Interested parties submit grant applications. The board reviews the applications, which contain business plans. Then, the board talks with the owners and sees if the project should be given its support.

As of July 11, more than 150 tickets had been sold. Organizers are anticipating the concert to be sold out soon.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.

23 May 2013 Deerfield Valley News • The Wilmington Fund VT helps to Establish Wilmington Works through the Vermont Downtown Program

4 Jun
New board holds first meeting
by Jack Deming

WILMINGTON-At their inaugural meeting Wednesday morning, the newly formed Wilmington Works advisory board got to work with an organizational session, opting for two co-chairs instead of a chair and vice chair, and selecting representatives for the group’s subcommittees.

Wilmington Works is a nonprofit committee, created through the Vermont Downtown Program, which will work on improving and supporting the downtown by following the program’s Main Street Four Point Approach, which focuses on organization, economic restructuring, design, and promotion. The work involved with each category will be delegated to four subcommittees, which can add members and volunteers for projects as needed.

After approval of the downtown program in March, an advisory board was put together consisting of 11 members. Program requirements included two selectboard members, Diane Chapman and Susie Haughwout; two members of the Wilmington Fund VT advisory board, John Gannon and Bob Fisher; and a member of the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce, a role filled by executive director Adam Grinold. Other members of the board include Tom Fitzgerald, Doug Laplante, Susan Lawrence, Lisa Sullivan, Sheila Osler, and Alice Richter.

The Wilmington Fund VT will serve as the committee’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt financial sponsor for a minimum of five years, as required by the program, but over time the group will consider creating their own 501(c)(3). Bypassing this process and using the Wilmington Fund VT for the time being will speed up the group’s immediate effectiveness, says Gannon. “Rather than move into an area which takes months to establish, we can begin work immediately and worry less about the financial side of things.” Wilmington Works has also received financial support from the town to the tune of $8,000.

The advisory board’s first big decision was to elect an advisory board chairperson. After the nomination of Gannon, Sullivan, Haughwout, and Lawrence, those nominated had difficulty saying for sure if they would be able to fulfill the role. Since Wilmington Works will be responsible for reporting to both the Wilmington Fund VT and the selectboard, Haughwout said that it would be best to not appoint a chairperson who also serves on one of those two boards.

“It would be nice to have a business owner be chair,” said Haughwout. “That way no one from those boards has too much control and instead we have someone working in the depths of the business community in charge.”

The board decided instead to create two co-chairs who will delegate their responsibilities between them, such as running meetings and creating agendas, and Sullivan and Gannon then agreed to serve as the group’s one-year co-chairs, while Haughwout volunteered and was affirmed for the “unrewarding” job of secretary.

While the Wilmington Fund VT will handle the group’s finances, the board decided to appoint Diane Chapman as treasurer to oversee the group’s bookkeeping. The board will also need to appoint a project coordinator who will oversee the daily work of revitalization.

The board also voted to approve a memorandum between Wilmington Works and the Wilmington Fund VT, which outlines the roles and responsibilities of each through the program.

Meetings of the advisory board will be open to the public. The board will create a set meeting day at their next meeting, Wednesday, May 29, at 8 am.

Read more: Deerfield Valley News – New board holds first meeting

Wilmington receives downtown designation • 28 March story in the Deerfield Valley News

30 Mar
by Jack Deming
2 days ago | 522 views | 1 1 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print

 

WILMINGTON- After an 18-month-long application process, the VT Downtown program has given its stamp of approval, awarding Wilmington village downtown designation.

This paves the way for implementing Wilmington Works, a committee that will work to enhance the business and economic environment of the downtown. Wilmington Works will be a committee of the Wilmington Fund VT, which serves as the committee’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt financial sponsor, as required by the program. The Wilmington Selectboard has also committed funds to Wilmington Works for this, and next year’s, fiscal years, using matching grant funds.

After Tropical Storm Irene, FEMA worked with the town to establish a long-term community recovery plan, and identified approximately two dozen projects that could have positive impacts and help the town most in achieving recovery goals.

Downtown designation was chosen as a high priority by the town, and former selectboard chair Tom Consolino was named project champion. Consolino, town manager Scott Murphy, economic development specialist Gretchen Havreluk, and Wilmington Fund VT member John Gannon spent 18 months putting together the plan, and applying.

According to Murphy, Wilmington Works will provide structure and support for downtown businesses, and organize efforts to improve the town’s economy. This will be accomplished through four subcommittees that report to a board of nine to 11 volunteers. Those subcommittees will consist of organization, economic development, promotion, and design.

For business owners, Murphy says Wilmington Works will provide multiple benefits by consolidating the efforts of the many existing committees in town, which, he says, with time might evolve into parts of the subcommittees. “The one benefit they’re (business owners) going to see first and foremost is the organizational affect,” said Murphy. “Right now we have various committees that work randomly and not in conjunction with each other and this will pull them all together.”

Murphy also noted the financial impact of the program, which opens the town up to apply for more 50-50 match grants that are easily accessible, and were not available under the town’s former status as a village. “Now that we’re a designated downtown, when we apply for other state grants, they can look at that and it will help us get extra credit points toward getting more grants.

“This would also be an asset to someone looking to move into our downtown, and will help to create a vibrant downtown.”

Part of the program’s criteria was proper mapping of the proposed downtown, and with help from the Windham Regional Commission, the town was able to create maps for the application, a process which Murphy says was easy due to Wilmington’s well-defined downtown business area. The program requires that the proposed downtown area not stretch unreasonably past the downtown businesses in any direction.

The Wilmington Works board will be composed of two members designated by the Wilmington Fund VT, two designated by the selectboard, two property owners in the district, two business owners in the district, and a member of the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce, as well as other community members. The majority of Wilmington Works board members must also be residents of the town. Each position will be a three-year term, and Murphy says there has already been a great deal of interest.

The program application was supported by nearly 60 signatures from downtown business and property owners alike.

Read more: Deerfield Valley News – Wilmington receives downtown designation