Shires Follow-up Meeting
Co-hosted by BCIC, BCRC, and the Shires RMO, a Shires Summit Follow-Up was held on November 30 at the Park House in Manchester. The Manchester venue was chosen to underscore the regional organization's commitment to their work in the Northshire, and to highlight the coordinated work of the BCIC and BCRC in leading regional economic development efforts in the county. The nearly 40 guests included municipal officials, business leaders, retailers, non-profit administrators, and community leaders.
The meeting addressed three points: the broad range of ongoing economic development initiatives and partnerships in the Bennington County region, ranging from downtown redevelopment projects to work on local food systems economies; the rationale for a Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone and the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) it calls for; and the necessity of public input to steer that process. To emphasize that final point, the attendees spent the latter half of the two-hour meeting in one of two working groups. One group addressed issues pertaining to regional marketing, while the other focused on regional economic development. Ideas discussed at the marketing table included a region-wide area guide to attractions and amenities in and around Bennington County. The economic development group identified the need for a simple, compelling “one-pager” statement that would enable those at the table to build public support for the process, and encourage increased participation.