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VT Council on Rural Development Step 1 Reflection

What an epic attendance Putney for the first step of the Vermont Council on Rural Development Monday, November 14th. I’m truly moved by the response and by our community. I want to thank VCRD, for guiding us through this process. Putney Central School facilities directors, kitchen and office staff thank you for sharing your space. Jon Sessions, Principal for hosting the first session in a building most community members haven’t been together in over two years. Putney Diner, Eleni Maksakuli and General Store, Mike & Kim Cosco along with their experienced staff creating such a wonderful meal not knowing how many would truly show. Well done folks, well done! A true testament of “social fabric”. As Brian Lowe explained; community is the social fabric, the connections, made with one another, making us all a part of the common thread of society as a whole.

I’m not sure if anyone knew what to expect on Monday evening and it certainly proved to be an experience that presented excitement, enthusiasm, a new found energy and optimism. The synergy in the room was a sight to behold. Looking around I saw young people sitting side by side with elders which was very inspiring. We all have a voice folks. I was captivated to listen to people share their thoughts and ideas. There were many people I didn’t recognize nor have I met. I saw and heard diversity in the building. Some ideas are new concepts and some have been around for some time. This is our opportunity Putney we must open ourselves up to listening, respecting one another and working together. Putney is rich in assets in many diverse areas on many levels. Sometimes we require guidance to open our eyes.

I also recognized and continue to hear the frustration. The loss of a business is damaging. Absent property owners with vacant store fronts and less than acceptable facades, nuisance and blighted properties, the list goes on. It is premature to know what the outcome(s) will be until we complete this process.

I’m optimistic with VCRD’s ability to connect resources in Putney, that we can change our ‘front porch”. Not only our Village District but Putney as a whole. As we navigate through the VCRD process toward step 2 on December 12th reflect upon what you experienced. I’m excited for the next session when we find out the common patterns from our first session. I don’t have any first-hand information, like you, I don’t know what to expect but I’m intrigued to find out. Trust the process “Our Future Putney”. Let’s stay the course and see this through.

Karen M. Astley
Town Manager