Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin meets with Waitsfield Selectboard members Kate Williams, Paul Hartshorn and Bill Parker at the Flood Reliefe HQ in Waitsfield in September. Photo: David Gartan
Governor Peter Shumlin recently announced a plan to assist communities recovering from Tropical Storm Irene. Dubbed the Community Recovery Partnership, the initiative will target affected towns and regions with facilitated local and regional conversations; the first conservation will take place Waitsfield next Thursday, November 17 at the Valley Players Theater from 6-8 p.m.
“We know that all recovery is local and the best role for the State is to support the towns. The first step is to talk with communities about both their current needs and their future plans, in order to better gauge the additional assistance they will need going forward,” said the Governor.
“We need to harness the incredible community energy of the past two months and direct it toward rebuilding Vermont into a stronger, smarter and safer state” Shumlin continued.
Governor Shumlin said the recovery needs vary from town to town and region to region. To best understand the needs, the state will ask town residents to share their views and ideas.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin meets with residents at the Flood Relief HQ in Waitsfield post-Irene. Photo: David Gartin
The Mad River Valley community, consisting of Warren, Waitsfield, Fayston, Moretown and Duxbury, will kick off the conversations. The visit will include a cross-agency team from the Agencies of Commerce & Community Development, Transportation, and Natural Resources, as well as representatives from the Regional Planning Commissions and Regional Development Corporations.
The overarching questions will be: What is the community's vision five years into the future? What are the community's current needs? What is your capacity to meet those needs and where are your gaps? What will indicate progress in meeting the community's goals?
Through a combination of public hearings and meetings with stakeholder groups, communities and regions will outline the long-range recovery vision and capacity on issues like housing, transportation and economic development.
The goal is to enable the Shumlin administration to match needs with existing services in the short term, but also create a long-term state recovery plan that leaves Vermont in better shape than before Tropical Storm Irene hit.
“Our goal is to support communities as they make the hard decisions about recovery,” said Noelle MacKay, commissioner of economic, housing and community development, “Having cross-agency teams is critical as we help towns identify gaps in capacity and need, as well as trends worth pursuing” she continued.