THETFORD

COMMUNITY PROFILE

REPORT

November 7 & 8, 1997

Thetford Steering Committee

  • Susan Arnold
  • Bill Bridge
  • Kate Cone
  • Janice Cook
  • Julia Eaton
  • Elfie Forbes
  • Dick Hodge
  • David Kelman
  • Tom Kinder
  • Linny Levin
  • Deecie McNelly
  • Tom Ozahowski
  • Pi Smith
  • Mary Spata
  • Gary Ulman


TO: Thetford Community Profile Participants

FROM: Thetford Community Profile Steering Committee

THANK YOU for participating in the Community Profile weekend on November 7 and 8, 1997. The exercise of identifying characteristics of our community provides both a vision for the future of Thetford and an action plan to implement that vision.

This report summarizes the work of the weekend and identifies aspects of our community that are worth preserving and those that we should work to change.

We believe that the weekend was successful in expressing different perspectives on and hopes for Thetford's future. We look forward to your continued participation in implementing that vision.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Acknowledgments
  • Overview of The Upper Valley 2001 & Beyond Project
  • Creating the Thetford community Profile
  • Thetford's Community Profile Agenda
  • Thetford's Community Profile
  • Friday Evening
  • The Mosaic
  • The Vision
  • Town Statistics

The Ten Components 10

  1. Effective Community Leadership: A Broader Definition
  2. Informed Citizen Participation: More Than Voter Turn-Out
  3. Intergroup Relations: Celebrating Diversity Within the Community
  4. Keeping Our Cultural Heritage Strong: Arts, Festivals and Celebrations
  5. Education and Social Services: Meeting Our Citizens' Needs.
  6. Physical Infrastructure and Services: The Basics that Serve Our Needs
  7. The Use of Natural Resources: Water, Energy, Materials & Aesthetics
  8. How the Community Looks and Feels: Town, Farm, Forest
  9. Economic Vitality: Stability through Diversity & Local Wealth
  10. Growth and Development 27

Saturday Morning: Key Issues

  • Communication
  • Town Unity
  • Leadership and Involvement
  • Social Responsibility
  • Economic Vitality
  • Shared Facilities and Resources
  • Rural Character
  • Natural Resource Preservation
  • Infrastructure
  • Arts, Education and Culture
  • Saturday Afternoon: Project Selection
  • Action Steps

Outcome Groups

  1. Citizens Advocacy and Response Team (C.A.R.T.) 49
  2. Combined Town and School District Meeting 50
  3. Virtual Community Center 51
  4. Thetford Learning Exchange 52
  5. Thetford Information Group 53
  6. Planning for Rural Character 54
  • Conclusion 55
  • Appendix 55
  • Thetford Community Profile Participants
  • Thetford Community Profile Facilitators
  • Thetford Community Profile Steering Committee


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The following businesses and individuals supported the Thetford Community Profile:

  • Baker’s Store
  • Cook in the Kitchen
  • Deecie McNelly Denison
  • League of Women Voters
  • Northwoods Excavation
  • Pompanoosuc Mills
  • Dr. Robert and Betty Porter
  • Smith and Vansant, Architects
  • Thetford Village Pizza
  • Town of Thetford
  • Vermont Everlastings
  • Wing’s Market

The Community Profile model was developed with the assistance of:

  • University of Vermont Cooperative Extension: Bill McMaster and Bob Townshend
  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Jerry Howe
  • Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs: Peg Elmer
  • Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission: Vicki Smith
  • Tufts University, Center for Environmental Management, Consortium for Regional Sustainability: Elizabeth Kline
  • New Hampshire Charitable Fund: Tom Deans and Deborah Cowan
  • Vermont Community Foundation: Eddie Gale
  • Sustainable Seattle: Alan AtKisson
  • University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies: Fred Schmidt
  • Community Innovations: Jeff Bercuvitz
  • The Upper Valley: 2001 & Beyond Steering Committee Members: Don Bourdon, Delia Clark, Ann Crow, Geoff Dates, Harrison Drinkwater, Charlotte Faulkner, Phil Freidman, Barbara Jones, John Kuhns, Bin Lewis, Norm Marshall, Lilla McLane-Bradley, Deecie McNelly Walter Paine, Betty Porter, Bob Rosenblum, Barry Schuster, Mike Smith, and Vicki Smith
  • and with the generous donation of time and expertise from: Jackie Clement, Ed Delhagen, Susan Edsall, Maureen Hart, and Anne Peyton

The Upper Valley: 2001 & Beyond is funded by:

  • Upper Valley Community Foundation Mascoma Savings Bank Foundation
  • New Hampshire Charitable Fund Stettenheim Foundation
  • League of Women Voters Education Fund Vermont Community Foundation
  • Friendship Fund and many individual donors


Overview of The Upper Valley: 2001 & Beyond

The Upper Valley: 2001 & Beyond is a concrete approach to strengthening the more than forty communities of the bi-state Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire.

Across the United States, in both urban and rural areas, people are lamenting the loss of a sense of community--the threads which unite us to our neighbors, encouraging us to offer ourselves to others in time of need and to volunteer for community services as diverse as rescue squads, school boards and downtown revitalization committees. Apathy and a decreased sense of common purpose have resulted in divisive local politics and reduced support for funding needs.

New England, with its Town Meeting form of government, has been heralded as beacon in the efforts to strengthen community life in the United States, but there is tremendous pressure on our small towns, which is eroding the values which form the core of our communities. As with other regions of the country we are struggling to meet economic, social, cultural, and environmental needs in the face of changing demographic patterns. Sustained citizen participation in community affairs has increasingly given way to a lack of connection between people and their communities. Transient populations and commuter lifestyles have resulted in estrangement from neighbors, a lack of personal connection to the history and geography of the local landscape and a sense that one's actions no longer matter.

The Upper Valley: 2001 & Beyond--Project Summary

Strengthening the sense of community in the more than 40 towns of the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont is the mission of The Upper Valley: 2001 & Beyond, which is comprised of three components:

1) The Community Profile seeks to reaffirm a sense of community during a day-and-a-half long town-wide forum. By harnessing the excitement and energy generated by residents as they brainstorm in a day-and-a-half long forum about what makes their town special, community members' prioritize and establish mutually agreed-upon economic, social, cultural and environmental projects. As fellow residents cooperate in these civic ventures, the most important and long-lasting result is the greater pool of citizens eager to become involved in making their community better.

  1. Valley VitalSigns, an Upper Valley index of citizen-selected indicators (or benchmarks), seeks to strengthen the sense of community regionally. Using an approach pioneered in several US cities such as Seattle and Jacksonville, Valley VitalSigns will track important cultural, economic, environmental and social trends over the coming decades, much as the Dow Jones indices track economic activity nationally. The innovative aspect of developing a set of Valley VitalSigns is that citizens become engaged in a community-strengthening discussion of what it is they most value, what trends they most want to monitor in the coming decades and how they can act upon that information to improve their communities.

3) Valley Quest seeks to build and strengthen a sense of community in the young people of our region through an inter-town treasure hunt created by Upper Valley school children. Based on a 150 year-old British model that engages students in mapping treasure hunts of the special places in their communities, it serves to strengthen school and community collaboration and to foster children's future engagement in civic life. In visiting their own and other town's special places, children and their parents will reinforce their connections to the land and the Upper Valley region in which they live.

Accomplishments to Date

To date more than 2,000 Upper Valley residents have participated in at least one aspect of the Upper Valley: 2001 & Beyond.

1) Community Profiles have been initiated in sixteen towns and completed in nine, with results such as overwhelming town meeting approval for an initiative to protect open space lands in Norwich, VT, a directory matching volunteer needs with volunteer skills in Grantham NH, formation of the New London Area Council for the Arts in New London NH, creation of a community gardening group in Enfield NH, and creation of a Regional Transportation Task Force in Hanover, NH. In addition, the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Service has adopted the Community Profile model for statewide use throughout New Hampshire.

2) Valley VitalSigns was launched with a series of forums which attracted over 90 local business, institutional, non-profit and municipal leaders from throughout the region to set goals and discuss strategies for the project. These forums culminated in a day-long regional meeting of 150 people from 25 towns, followed by groups of fifteen citizen task forces who met throughout last winter and spring to begin the process of selecting Valley VitalSigns. The results of the task forces are a draft list of 20 preliminary Valley VitalSigns (see appendix).

3) Valley Quest was piloted by eleven schools last year, resulting in a book of maps of fifteen special places throughout the Upper Valley which was distributed to over 500 families. This year the program has attracted twenty-five new teachers and museum educators who joined the pilot teachers in a training workshop early in the fall and are now initiating the project in their classrooms and exhibit halls.

National Applicability

Upper Valley: 2001 & Beyond is an effective model to strengthen communities nationally, as evidenced by:

  • Press coverage about Valley VitalSigns circulated by the American News Service and published in several newspapers across the country including the Chicago Tribune and the Virginian Pilot
  • A featured case study in Planning, the magazine of the American Planning Association.
  • Information requests from organizations as diverse as the United States Environmental Protection Agency, France's Public Television Network, the Colorado Healthy Communities Collaborative, and from towns in California, New York, Florida and Washington.
  • Speaking engagements at national conferences such as Creating More Livable Communities Conference in Coral Gables, Florida, the National Land Trust Alliance Annual Rally, and the North American Environmental Education Alliance Annual Conference.
  • Study tours for community development professionals from Slovakia to learn how the UV:2001 model can be applied in their country, hosted at the request of the Quebec-Labrador Foundation.


CREATING A COMMUNITY

PROFILE IN THETFORD

History

Thetford's involvement in Community Profiles began with ...

Organization

A Community Profile Steering Committee was formed to organize the event. The Committee was comprised of Susan Arnold, Bill Bridge, Kate Cone, Janice Cook, Julia Eaton, Elfie Forbes, Dick Hodge, David Kelman, Tom Kinder, Linny Levin, Deecie McNelly, Tom Ozahowski, Pi Smith, Mary Spata, and Gary Ulman. The committee began meeting on ______________

Participant Recruitment

To ensure that their Profile was truly a profile of the entire community, the Steering Committee made every effort to include a broad cross-section of Thetford residents in the event. In addition to current civic leaders and activists, people who don't usually participate in community affairs were informed of the upcoming Profile. No group or individual was excluded as a potential participant. It was to be an inclusive, rather than an exclusive process. The Steering Committee identified over _____ individuals to personally invite to the Community Profile.

Letters were sent to each of the _____ individuals and announcements of the Profile were posted around town and in local newspapers. As the list of people agreeing to participate grew, the Committee made sure that a broad cross-section of the community would be there. Personal phone calls increased the number and diversity of participants. In the end, ________ people participated in Thetford's Community Profile.

Facilitation

The Steering committee also asked some community members to act as facilitators for the small group parts of the Profile. ____________led the large group sessions, but additional people were needed to see that in the small groups everyone would get a chance to speak, the topic would be fully addressed, and that the notes would be accurately recorded. On ______________ the facilitators participated in a two hour training session...


The Upper Valley: 2001 & Beyond

Thetford Community Profile

November 7-8, 1997

Agenda

 

FRIDAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 7

5:30 Sign-In, Pot-Luck Supper in Thetford Elementary School Gymnasium

Child care is available in the primary wing of the school.

6:15 Welcome&endash;Thetford Elementary School Gymnasium

  • Overview of 2001 project, Valley VitalSigns
  • Overview of Community Profile Process
  • Who is here?

6:45 Mosaic and Vision

  • What is Thetford like now?
  • What do we want Thetford to be like in the future?

7:15 How does Thetford compare?

  • Presentation of census data

7:45 Presentation of Community Profile Components

  • Effective Community Leadership: A Broader Definition
  • Informed Citizen Participation: More Than Voter Turn-Out
  • Intergroup Relations: Celebrating Diversity Within the Community
  • Our Cultural Heritage: Arts, Festivals and Celebrations
  • Education and Social Services: Meeting Our Citizens' Needs
  • Physical Infrastructure and Services: The Basics that Serve Our Needs
  • Natural Resources: Water, Energy, Materials & Aesthetics
  • Economic Vitality: Stability through Diversity & Local Wealth

8:15 Small Group Discussions of Components (Small group facilitators)

  • Random assignments to small groups, one component per group
    • - Strengths of Thetford in the component area
    • - Weaknesses
    • - What would you like to see in the future?
    • - What are the 5-7 key issues that need to be addressed?

9:30 Adjourn


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8

8:45 Pancake Breakfast and check-in, Thetford Elementary School gymnasium

9:00 Small group reports

  • Each of the ten small groups report to the large group, five minutes each

9:50 Selection of Key Issues

  • Discussion to refine list of 50+ Key Issues down to about ten, based on consensus

10:25 Individual selection of Key Issue

  • Participants select small group/issue to work on

10:30 Break

10:45 Small groups meet for Key Issue discussion (Small group facilitators)

  • Define the problem or opportunity
  • Project goals - identify what you want to accomplish
  • Identify potential projects/solutions
  • Evaluate potential projects using impact-feasibility grid
  • Select 3-5 projects to bring to the full group

12:15 Lunch

1:00 Report Back from Small Groups

2:00 Voting

  • Which project do you think we should move forward on?
  • Which is the most important project for our town right now?

2:15 Thetford's role in 2001

  • Discussion of Thetford's role in the selection of Valley VitalSigns
  • and in the regional gathering

2:30 Break

Individual selection of project development groups

2:35 Project development - Small groups (Small group facilitators)

  • Principal leadership
  • Resources needed
  • Potential obstacles, solutions
  • Action steps
  • Timeline
  • Coordinator, first step

4:00 Where do we go from here? - Full group

4:30 Adjourn


THETFORD'S COMMUNITY PROFILE

FRIDAY EVENING SESSION

The Thetford Community Profile was conducted in the Thetford Elementary School over two days: Friday evening, November 7, and all day Saturday, November 8. ___ participants attended on Friday. ___ people returned on Saturday and were joined by ___ new participants for a total attendance on Saturday of ___ people.

The event began Friday evening with a potluck supper. Plates and drinks were donated by local businesses(???). After filling up on a wide variety of delicious foods, the participants met together for an overview of the Profile process and an introduction to the goals for the two days. The facilitator for the evening was Deecie McNelly(???). For our first activity, we spent a few minutes meeting each other, learning how long we had lived in town, where we worked, how far from town we lived, how many of us had children in the schools, and how many of us had graduated from Thetford schools ourselves. We were then asked to offer descriptions of what our town was like right now and subsequently what we would like it to be like in the future. Adjectives and phrases were called out and recorded on large easels at the front of the room. The results are listed below.

THE MOSAIC

What is Thetford like today?

 

great and involved schools

variety of cultural activities

no cafe

dedicated volunteers

church suppers

grange

state park

Gray’s Auction

Upper Valley Land Trust

boat access to river

sandwich boards

milfoil

a lot of small churches

good music

farmland

good sports

Parish Players

no community ctr

Community Assn.

Lightgate

Post Mills Int’l. Airport

increasing traffic congestion

family-oriented

schools in 1 area

disappearing farms

good but crowded

schools

 

political uncapped landfill

great veggie farms

no light pollution

mountainous

active

historic

quiet

progressive

farms and cows

changing

lacking in places for kids to gather

busy

beautiful

spread out

no sidewalks

covered bridges (need work)

friendly

healthy

summer camps

camps on lakes

active recycling programs

five post offices

Union Village Dam

lots of birds

 

no main street

Treasure Island

noisy traffic

lots of hunters

Thetford Youth Sports

Afterschool Arts Class

pizzeria

no traffic lights

no 24-hr. stores

bicycling

too many beer cans

cultural (for its size)

primarily "white"

ski program

2 good libraries

convenient to college & hospital

great trails

coyotes

rural bdrm comm.

diversity

safe

no traffic

wooded or forested

growing

 

home of Joe Bivens

wood mills

Childs Pond

dying Town Meeting

Thetford Afterschool Program

mountain biking

ecologically sensitive community

clean air

access to interstate

snowmobiling and skiing

no senior citizen transport

rivers

caring

divided

historic

expensive

THE VISION

What do we want Thetford to look like in the future?

 

  • fewer cars
  • rail trail
  • solution to school crowding problem that's agreeable to everyone
  • more jobs in the villages
  • law abiding and good mannered voters
  • 25 mph speed limit in all towns
  • dirt roads
  • environmentally safe, sound industries
  • teen centers
  • more civil
  • rural
  • abolish Australian ballot
  • big town green
  • public transportation
  • great place to live
  • community pool
  • cafe
  • traffic safety on hill
  • more affordable housing
  • preserve the villages
  • not suburban
  • fun Town Meeting
  • festivals
  • social and economic diversity
  • continued good road maintenance
  • more resources for schools
  • public high school
  • dedicated teachers
  • sister town abroad
  • adult education program
  • open land
  • preserve the woods
  • hockey or skating rink
  • wider participation at public forums
  • capped landfill
  • interconnected trails
  • Chamber of Commerce/Business Assn.
  • Fourth of July Town BBQ
  • revive use of rail line
  • bike lanes on Routes 113 and 5
  • everyone can see Milky Way
  • no major chains (stores/restaurants)
  • keep our good schools
  • multicultural fun events
  • pedestrian friendly
  • historic preservation
  • great veggie farms
  • opportunities for youth involvement
  • move Town Garage out of Thetford Ctr.
  • many houses off the grid
  • new septic system for school
  • save the covered bridges
  • tennis courts
  • art center
  • community center
  • middle school
  • preserve wild lands
  • seasonal cultural meetings
  • preserve dairy farms
  • 'swimmable' rivers
  • welcome wagon
  • horse friendly
  • energy efficiency
  • renovated Town Hall
  • maintain current positives
  • lower taxes
  • home for lots of wildlife
  • a good pub
  • build strong bridge in Union Village
  • more potholes
  • daycare and playgroup opportunities
  • more opportunities for cross-generational interactions

TOWN STATISTICS

This was followed by a presentation by _________ on Thetford census information comparing it to other local towns and explaining its usefulness in community evaluations and planning. S/he pointed out a variety of interesting trends, such as: Thetford has been ......


COMMUNITY PROFILE TEN COMPONENTS

After we developed a mosaic of and vision for Thetford, and digested some of the census data, __________introduced us to the idea of discussing Thetford within the framework of ten qualities which can be used to profile a community. These topics, drawn from the work of The National Civic League and adapted by The Upper Valley: 2001 & Beyond are important components of any successful community. These components make a community work well now and sustain the cultural, economic and environmental health and vitality for the long-term future.

Civic Infrastructure

1. Effective Community Leadership: A Broader Definition

2. Informed Citizen Participation: More Than Voter Turn-Out

3. Inter-Group Relations: Celebrating Diversity Within the Community

Community Infrastructure

4. Keeping Our Cultural Heritage Strong: Arts, Festivals and Celebrations

5. Education and Social Services: Meeting Our Citizens' Needs

6. Physical Infrastructure and Services: The Basics That Serve Our Needs

Environment

7. Use of Natural Resources: Water, Energy, Materials & Aesthetics

8. How the Community Looks and Feels: Town, Farm, Forest

Economy

9. Economic Vitality: Stability through Diversity & Local Wealth


1. Effective Community Leadership: A Broader Definition

Statement of purpose

The public, private and non-profit sectors must all develop leaders who can cooperate with each other in enhancing the long-term future of the community. Leadership must be responsive, honest, efficient, enlightened, fair and accountable. Leaders should be representative of their community, and should have both a grasp of the community's problems and the ability to envision an economically secure, environmentally sound and socially viable future. Leaders should be attuned to the potential to exploit opportunities and to solve problems of the community by cooperating with other neighboring communities.

Questions to think about

  • Is there active leadership in all three sectors of the community: public, private and non-profit?
  • Do leaders seek out the interests and ideas of local citizens?
  • Do they represent diverse community interests (age and gender groups, length of time they have resided in the community, etc.)
  • Do leaders demonstrate knowledge, accountability, professionalism, and innovation?
  • Is leadership results-oriented?
  • Are leaders willing to take appropriate risks?
  • Do leaders demonstrate long-range (20+ years) thinking? Do they understand the impacts of their actions on the long term health and vitality of the community?
  • Are leaders willing to consider and utilize alternative methods for delivering services, and to undertake regional solutions where appropriate?
  • Do all three sectors actively recruit, train and empower new leaders?
  • Do leaders have a common forum to discuss issues with other leaders in the region? How do region-wide policy conflicts get resolved?

Committee Response: Community Leadership Strengths

  • Ellis Paige/Road Commissioner
  • Volunteer Fire Department
  • Fast Squad
  • Emergency planning
  • Diverse base of leaders
  • Martha Rich/Thetford Academy
  • Town government
  • Passionate local leadership
  • Post Offices run well
  • Intergenerational programs
  • Primary Partners
  • Seniors/Third Grade program
  • Peer tutoring
  • Thetford role in regional school planning Thetford has a lot of diverse, strong leaders
  • Dedicated parents in school system
  • Active Conservation Commission
  • Active role in recycling and newsletters
  • Leadership for regional events
    • cross-country meets
  • Initiative to organize
  • Parish Players
  • Chamber Singers
  • Historical Society
  • Strong leadership in school library
  • When Thetford puts its mind to something, it will be the best

Committee Response: Community Leadership Concerns

  • No business association or other channel for leadership within business community
  • No coordination of efforts within business community concerning enrichment of town
  • Elected leaders in town have siege mentality and are not forthcoming with information
  • Lazy voters, citizens not taking initiative to get information about issues
  • Lack of communication concerning school issues to people without children in school who also pay taxes
  • Leaders have to put up with too much
  • Australian ballot
  • Town leaders don’t have long-range visions&endash;don’t have time built in for planning
  • Some leaders are reactive, not proactive or visionary
  • Lack of communication about leadership
    • issues in town events
    • minutes of meetings
  • Abandonment of day meetings&endash;town and school district
  • People not willing to run for office
  • Uncontested races
  • Lack of local news coverage
  • Not enough middle ground&endash;civility

Committee Response: Community Leadership Vision for the Future

  • Better written communication about community issues
  • Learn from town elders (native leaders) about how they did it (before they die!)
  • Strive mightily, then eat and drink together
  • Student Council at Thetford Academy given power to deal with issues at Thetford Academy
  • foster leadership
  • Better listening from leaders
    • people need to feel they’re heard
  • New people welcomed into discussion
  • People willing to run for office and volunteer without fear
  • Coordination of business community and leaders
  • Training for leaders
  • Ecumenical collaboration&endash;churches take leadership role

Committee Response: Key Issues for Now and the Future

  • Communication
    • Better dissemination of information from leaders to town and between groups
    • Leaders seek information and input from community and other groups
  • Positive environment for leaders
    • More civil
    • More neighborly
    • Less hostile
  • Visionary leadership&endash;proactive, not reactive
  • Encourage leadership&endash;from wider variety of individuals and groups within the community
  • Coordination and integration of leadership and efforts among different groups&endash;i.e., churches, food bank collections, cultural activities

2. Informed Citizen Participation: More than Voter Turn-Out

Statement of Purpose

If a community is to be strong, citizens must participate through voting in local elections, serving on government boards, attending public hearings and being active in civic organizations. Declining ability of government to meet community needs means that philanthropy and volunteerism become even more important. All citizens need to develop knowledge and skills to contribute to community life. All sectors within a community--private, public and non-profit--must each take responsibility for the community's civic education and generate and share information with the public. Sharing in problem solving and planning for the future as a community increases pride in the community and can result in an ethic of giving and sharing as a way of life.

Questions to Think About

  • Do citizens know how the system works?
  • Is it easy for newcomers to learn how to get involved in the community?
  • How do people find out what is going on in the community?
  • What is the level of volunteerism and philanthropy in the community? Which are the best areas and which are the weaker areas?
  • Are citizens actively involved in major projects?
  • Do citizens volunteer to serve on local boards and committees?
  • Is participation pro-active or reactive?
  • Do civic organizations and local businesses actively contribute to community functions?
  • Do citizens have the information they need to make good decisions?
  • Is there both adequate and balanced media coverage of local events and issues?
  • How well do local committees and boards communicate with each other and the public and with other boards and committees throughout the region?
  • Are local citizens actively involved in civic and business organizations and clubs that involve interaction with residents of neighboring communities?
  • Do civic education efforts involve the entire community?
  • Do schools, churches, youth and civic groups provide citizen education and promote community service?

Committee Response: Strengths in Citizen Participation

  • Existence of Town Meeting
  • Bulletin boards
  • Thetford Academy Newsletter
  • Post Offices and Recycling Center
  • Sharing ideas at barbecues
  • People coalesce around issues
  • People speak out in Thetford; feel free to express opinion
  • Vitality
  • Summer scene at Treasure Island
  • Small enough to get others involved in issues (to know who to call)
  • Opposing views aplenty
  • Strong and fair moderator at Town Meeting
  • Helpful and accessible folks at Town Hall
  • Service-oriented subgroups
  • Information passed through subgroups (scouts, churches, etc.)
  • Community groups that, using volunteers, provide real service to community (food, shelter, medical, clothing, ambulance, etc.)
  • Youth and adult community groups

Committee Response: Concerns about Citizen Participation

  • Irrevocable decisions made without opportunity for broad citizen input
  • Citizen participation segregates around single issues
  • Lack of interest across Thetford citizenry to participate
  • Us versus Them dichotomy
  • New ways of operating/communicating
  • Self segregation&endash;don’t belong
  • Fear of causing conflict so keep ideas to ourselves
  • Natural reticence
  • Growth in population
  • Overwhelmed by change&endash;more ‘flatlanders’
  • Polarity&endash;no compromise&endash;inability to work out a compromise (taxes, schools, hunting)
  • More than two points, failure to see multiple points
  • People without kids don’t have equal access to information
  • Plague of business

Citizen Participation: Visions for the Future

  • Learn lessons from natives (old-timers) in all walks of life
    • get natives involved in teaching
    • natives have a sense of history
  • Easier access to what’s going on in town
  • Old-timers learning from ‘flatlanders’
  • Comfort expressing views, learning communication bridges
  • Increased use of computers for info, also newsletters
  • More Thetford news&endash;Thetford bureau of Valley News (reporter)
  • Thetford community web page
  • Old Home Day in Thetford Center
  • More town-wide chicken barbecues (Labor Day, etc.)
  • Finding common ground&endash;important
  • Strengthen informal networks, increase neighborliness
  • who they are
    • feel positive
    • potlucks
  • town-wide fun
  • Genuine in our attempts to involve others
  • Model success of Fire Dept’s Labor Day Barbecue&endash;why it works so well?

Citizen Participation: Key Issues for Now and the Future

  1. Polarization
  2. Getting information
  3. Increasing neighborliness&endash;positive feelings and openness toward each other
  4. Preserve and increase places and opportunities to meet at a slower pace
  5. Busyness

3. Inter-Group Relations: Celebrating Diversity Within the Community

Statement of Purpose

A community is made up of many different people with different interests, experiences and backgrounds. These characteristics may divide a community into natural groups but there must be cooperation among them if the community is to work well. Increasing social complexity present challenges to reaching consensus or resolving conflicts but also provide opportunities for cultural enrichment. As disagreements arise, neutral forums and processes are needed where all opinions can be heard and consensus encouraged. In addition, programs are needed to increase communication and understanding of different perspectives among groups and within the community as a whole.

Questions to Think About

  • How much communication is there among diverse interest groups in the community such as natives/newcomers, summer/year-round residents, young parents/retirees, town/gown, as well as the business community, commuters, etc.?
  • Are such groups involved in identifying community goals and in resolving community issues?
  • Do all groups have the skills to become involved in the community?
  • Do formal and informal forums exist for sharing ideas and resolving public issues?
  • Are collective decisions which represent broad input reached and implemented?
  • Do groups cooperate in resolving broad disputes?
  • Do small, specific conflicts escalate into larger issues?
  • Does the community deal with critical issues before they become crises? How is this done?
  • How would you define the self-image of the community? Is it a positive one?
  • How is social and cultural diversity celebrated in the community?

Committee Response: Strengths in Intergroup Relations

  • Good moderators at town meetings
  • Events take place annually
    • fairs
    • bazaars
    • cross-country meet
    • Chamber Singers
    • antique show
  • Number of different forums which allow diverse people to gather
    • churches/interfaith youth group
    • Parish Players
    • community association
    • youth sports
    • Treasure Island
    • Lightgate
  • A lot of different ways to make a living (i.e., work at home, etc.)
  • Acceptance of different groups
  • Tolerance of different lifestyles
  • Increasing adult awareness of diversity
  • Respect for diversity
  • Increasing awareness of what is produced&endash;software to veggies

Committee Response: Concerns about Intergroup Relations

  • Strengths may be perceived as weaknesses
  • Tension between native ‘Vermonters’ and newcomers (perceived?)
    • may not be accepting of change
    • hard to feel welcome as a newcomer
  • Hard to find out how to get involved
    • must seek out Thetford Profile rather than have it arrive to your home
  • Snooty attitudes if you don’t know someone
  • No main village&endash;geographically diverse, no community meeting place
  • No central store (i.e., Norwich’s Dan & Whit’s)
  • Five Post Offices
  • Needs of newcomers (some want sidewalks, some don’t) versus natives are different and a source of difficulty/divisiveness
  • Not good at talking about issues/interests only money (yours vs. mine)
  • Expectations of services are different&endash;need forum for resolving differences
  • Strongly opinionated people
  • Not sure all people have skills to converse with others
  • Apathy/complaints (Town Meetings, school boards, PTO)
  • Human nature
  • Lack of ethnic diversity
  • Insufficient respect and/or empathy for and support for different economic classes (church, transportation, food)

Intergroup Relations: Visions for the Future

  • Common meeting area
  • Continue Lightgate
  • Whole town involved in ownership of schools (not just parents)
  • Diverse education programs (adult to youth)
  • More individual citizen participation in town government
  • Better communication vehicles (newsletters)
  • Annual newcomers potluck (and a way to make people aware of it)
  • Centralized (and decentralized) information center
  • Sandwich boards in other locations (north and east, Route 5, etc.)
  • Wider racial and ethnic diversity
  • Nice restaurant/bar/pub
  • More support for entrepreneurs
  • Community athletic events
  • More community forums to deal with critical issues (before they become crises)

Intergroup Relations: Key Issues for Now and the Future

  • Communication
  • Issue resolution process&endash;a process to clarify and resolve problems
  • Lack of shared sense of responsibility
  • Lack of respect for diversity
  • Replacing apathy with increasing community involvement

4. Keeping our Cultural Heritage Strong: Arts, Festivals and Celebrations

Statement of Purpose

The cultural life of a community can be a strong source of pride for citizens. Arts, theater, local festivals and celebrations all reflect and build a community's positive sense of itself and strengthen the fabric of all social interactions within the community.

Questions to Think About

  • What ways does the community celebrate itself?
  • What are the special cultural centers, events and festivals within the community?
  • Are these events well known within the community? Outside the community?
  • Does the community preserve and enhance what is special and unique about its cultural heritage?
  • Are children encouraged to participate in cultural events?
  • Are citizens part of larger regional cultural events?

Committee Response: Strengths in Cultural Areas

  • Plays/concerts at Thetford Elementary and Academy
  • Parish Players
  • Thetford Academy Grand Opening
  • Thetford Elementary Halloween party
  • Post Mills Labor Day Parade/Barbecue
  • Story Hours at both Latham and Post Mills Libraries
  • Habitat for Humanity Project/Cabaret at Post Mills Congregational Church
  • Hot Air Balloon Festival
  • Thetford Chamber Singers
  • Reading programs at both libraries
  • Little League/Sports
  • Treasure Island
  • Cross-country meet at Thetford Academy
  • Religious-cultural events: concerts, Christmas Eve, Easter Sunrise, Thanksgiving
  • Strong participation: church suppers, parades, Chamber Singers, Antique Show/Thetford Hill Fair
  • Defining Thetford
    • Readings by local authors
    • Antique Show
    • Thetford Hill Fair
    • Church suppers
    • Community Center potluck suppers
    • Open Fields Circus
    • Parish Players
    • Old Home Day
    • Romp on the Pomp
    • Peabody Fine Book and Bake Sale
    • Access to Hopkins Center, Hood
    • Museum, Community College,
    • Dartmouth, concerts, etc.

Committee Response: Concerns about Cultural Areas

  • Lack of communication to peripheral locations
  • Poor facilities in some village community centers
  • Lack of arts education
  • Lack of funding
  • Lack of vision /exposure
  • Boredom/ennui
  • Less cohesive center of town&endash;no Main Street or central focus
  • Lack of events for singles
  • Friction from school politics keeps people away
  • Under-utilization of schools
  • Lack of support and participation (plays, fairs/crafts, etc.)
  • Lack of awareness of smaller events
  • Lack of exposure for visual arts
  • Lack of locations for visual arts
  • Not enough events focused on teens

Cultural Areas: Visions for the Future

  • Town-wide central gathering place
  • Six active/vital community centers
  • Thetford resident artists sharing their art in educational format/workshops
  • Exposure of Thetford artists (includes the necessity for a space for exhibitions)
  • School building used as a summer art exhibition center
  • Sculpture at recycling center
  • Continue support/participation of current activities
  • Reasons for Thetford residents to stay in Thetford more often for entertainment
  • People coming out of house for entertainment&endash;not TV
  • A place for dialogue (i.e., Town Hall)

Cultural Areas: Key Issues for Now and the Future

  1. Acknowledge existing strengths of our culture
  2. Not enough culture outside of schools and churches
  3. Inadequate and underutilized facilities
  4. Need for awareness and utilization of community talent
  5. Lack of communication of events, talents and opportunities to help

5. Education and Social Services: Meeting Our Citizens’ Needs

Statement of Purpose

All citizens have a need for food, clothing, shelter, and for the education of their children. Although some needs are met by local, state, and federal programs, caring communities still keep a neighborly eye on fellow citizens. Things like pre-school programs, youth services, low-income housing, after-school extracurricular youth programs, and preventative health and substance abuse programs help to strengthen the social foundations of a community.

Questions to Think About

  • Are educational and social services provided equitably?
  • What services does the community provide to its neediest citizens?
  • Does the community, through its schools or other programs, offer counseling on parenting or family relationships?
  • What local or regional programs or services are offered? What are needed? For daycare/substance abuse/recreational/youth counseling?
  • Are these services adequate? Are they well utilized? Under-utilized?
  • Are school programs adequate for the community's needs?
  • Is school planning forward thinking and open to regional solutions?
  • Does local government address qualitative concerns about service?
  • Does government consider and utilize alternative methods of service delivery?

Committee Response: Strengths in Education and Social Services

  • Great school board
  • Caring professionals
  • Caring parents/after school activities
  • Small size allows opportunities for better communication
  • Maple Leaf Day Care
  • Small schools create a welcoming and enriching environment
  • Open Fields school offers alternative
  • Third grade have opportunity to work with Senior Citizens/art project
  • Other volunteers in schools
  • Senior Citizens Christmas luncheon at elementary school
  • Kindergarten Partners Program with
  • Thetford Academy
  • Meals-On-Wheels for seniors
  • Limited contact with representative from Bugbee
  • Food shelf
  • Thetford youth Sports&endash;anyone can play, not competitive to get on team
  • Swimming lesson program
  • Access to facilities in nearby towns
  • Youth group open to all sixth through eighth graders at Congregational Church
  • Lots of computers in the schools
  • Dedicated volunteers on Fire Department and FAST Squad
  • Community buildings
  • Potential for village gatherings and networking
  • Union Village recreation

Committee Response: Concerns about Education and Social Services

  • No teen center&endash;no place for teenagers to hang out
  • Poor communication about volunteer needs/opportunities
  • If not connected to schools, you’re out of the loop
  • Small size can cause difficulties in communication&endash;people know each other
  • People feel exposed/vulnerable
  • Large segment of community feels disenfranchised
  • If we want economic diversity, we need to have such support
  • Town is too small to afford everything people want
  • People don’t look to Thetford, they go to other towns for programs
  • Lack of summer programs for children
  • No recreation coordinator
  • Limited resources for senior citizens&endash;no senior housing in town
  • Lack of friendly visitor type program/service to shut-ins
  • Isolation is problem for people of all ages
  • Two-acre type zoning creates isolation by spreading people out
  • Everyone goes to Hanover for social connection
  • No town center
  • Lack of vitality in villages&endash;just Post Offices
  • Lack of counseling for drug abuse, alcohol abuse, etc.
  • Lack of counseling services for adults
  • Not enough arts education in the schools
  • Lack of support for new parents
  • School is the only community activity
  • Lack of intergenerational connections
  • Pressure on elementary school to balance budget because Academy is outside budget
  • No community programs with agricultural base (except 4-H) though Vermont has agricultural ‘persona’
  • Lack of social acceptance for drug abuse counseling&endash;privacy issues if counseling is local
  • People come here from cities and start wanting schools to have what they had in the city
  • Not enough monetary/physical resources in the schools to provide for the kids’ needs
  • Lack of support for neediest people or lack of information if there are such programs

Education and Social Services: Visions for the Future

  • Education programs using Union Village Dam and recreation area Corps of Engineers
  • Town-wide barter system and talent list (i.e., help find someone to help with gardening)
  • Transportation for seniors
  • People to help seniors with household tasks
  • Program for student volunteer work
  • Community access to school compu-ters&endash;open computer ctr, not a class
  • Community cultural center for youth programs, senior citizens, chorus, teen center, etc.
  • Better coordination of information
  • Newsletter
  • Auditorium
  • Middle school with better playing fields that all could use
  • Fun adult education&endash;cooking, stargazing, etc.
  • Cafe where people can meet
  • Conservation commission program to introduce people to natural history and farming
  • More volunteerism, maintenance of cross-country ski trails and communication so people are aware

Education and Social Services: Key Issues for Now and the Future

  1. How to create more connections among and provide needed services to people not already connected and served by schools, e.g. Senior citizens, new parents, etc.
  2. Pressure of school budget and need to resolve middle school issue in a way agreeable to whole town
  3. Lack of multipurpose, multi-age group community center
  4. Better coordination and communication about volunteer needs and opportunities
  5. How to better value what we have and make use of existing resources instead of always wanting "more"

6. Physical Infrastructure & Services: The Basics That Serve Our Needs

Statement of Purpose

Public buildings, schools, sidewalks, sewers, roads, and the public water supply--are basic to the existence of a community. They absorb most tax dollars and sharply influence the community's quality of life.

Questions to Think About

  • What schools and other public facilities exist in the community?
  • What facilities or services are needed?
  • Are public water sources protected?
  • How does the community handle disposal of its wastes?
  • Does the town have a plan for financing the maintenance, expansion and replacement of its public facilities? Is it open to regional solutions for future infrastructure needs?
  • Is there adequate housing available for elderly or disabled individuals? For people of lower income?
  • Are public buildings such as schools and town hall adequate for our needs. Are they accessible to people with disabilities? Are they energy efficient?
  • Do officials address qualitative concerns about facilities and systems and utilize alternative methods of service delivery?
  • Are officials professional and entrepreneurial in meeting public facility needs?
  • Are appropriate physical connections being made, such as public transportation between housing and job (or shopping) sites?

Committee Response: Strengths in Infrastructure

  • Public facilities in one place (Thetford Hill)
  • Industry in E. Thetford
  • Schools in one place
  • Schools and daycare
  • Daycare, library, store, airport, church, Treasure Island, camps
  • Thetford Academy trail
  • Public lands (parks)
  • Volunteer Fire Department
  • Fast Squad
  • Road crew
  • Thetford Hill Improvement Society
  • Town Hall, garages
  • Access to funding for road improvement
  • Open Fields School
  • Town forest
  • Vast
  • Lack of cellular towers
  • Active citizenry regarding infrastructure
  • No sewer and water taxes
  • Pay for waste
  • Commuter parking
  • Some buildings handicapped accessible
  • Anderson Hall
  • Grange/Parish Players
  • Lake Fairlee Association
  • RPC (Regional Planning Committee)
  • Fish and Game Club
  • Capital Replacement Fund
  • Covered bridges
  • Recycling Center
  • Two lumber mills
  • Furniture outlet
  • Legion
  • Buildings used for public purposes
  • Waste consciousness
  • GUV’s waste management

Committee Response: Concerns about Infrastructure

  • No middle school
  • No sidewalks
  • Inadequate road shoulders and bike paths
  • Landfill&endash;nonfunctioning and open
  • No public transportation
  • Septic problems on Thetford Hill
  • No common meeting place (cafe, green, building)
  • Lack of speed control
  • Senior programs half-hour away
  • Lack of staffed community center
  • Pollution from copper mines
  • Poor visibility on Thetford Hill
  • Road crew priorities and maintenance
  • Too much money going to road maintenance
  • Lack of a landfill
  • Pay too little for trash
  • No light pollution ordinance
  • No energy generation source
  • Lack of central water commission
  • No public high school
  • Too many Post Offices
  • No governance of existing septic systems
  • Lack of affordable housing/senior housing
  • Inadequate structural support of Union Village Bridge
  • Lack of boat speed limits causing erosion
  • Limitation of horsepower with motor boats
  • Weak dam on Lake Fairlee
  • Lack of communication&endash;lack of town supported newsletter

Infrastructure: Visions for the Future

  • Senior citizen housing
  • Town recreation facilities
  • Town newsletter
  • Cafe
  • Management of roads
  • Solve septic problems
  • Goal-oriented zoning regulations
  • Move Thetford garage out of Thetford Center
  • Listen Center annex
  • Better accessibility for emergency vehicles
  • Coffeehouse
  • Extended recycling hours
  • Teen Community Center&endash;staffed
  • Senior Citizen Center
  • Public town high school
  • Alternative transportation (public, carpool, bike path)
  • Healthy Lake Fairlee
  • Alternative energy program
  • More centralized community

Infrastructure: Key Issues for Now and the Future

  1. Coordinated and comprehensive master plan with greater community input
  2. Develop a centralized hub
  3. School buildings
  4. Managing waste and water resources
  5. Transportation and road management
  6. Recreation facilities

7. The Use of Natural Resources: Water, Energy, Materials & Aesthetics

Statement of Purpose

Natural resources are materials from nature that maintain and enhance a community. This includes food, fuel, and materials used in everyday life. A sustainable community attempts to balance the rate at which renewable resources are consumed with the rate at which they are renewed. Dependence on nonrenewable resources is minimized as much as is feasible. A sustainable community attempts to rely on local sources of food and materials. A sustainable community also attempts to reduce the amount of waste and emissions produced by increasing energy efficiency, and tries to minimize the effect of wastes that are created. It also tries to maintain places of beauty. Streams, rivers, walking trails, working farms, clean air, pastures and open land help determine a community's personality.

Questions to Think About

  • Are water supplies sufficient and are they used efficiently and protected?
  • What percent of the energy used by the community is renewable versus nonrenewable?
  • What opportunities exist for local sources of renewable energy?
  • Do energy conservation programs exist within the community?
  • How does the community handle disposal of its wastes?
  • What percent of waste generated is recyclable and recycled?
  • What are your town's special water and land assets?
  • Is there a broad community interest and participation in maintaining these?
  • How healthy are the natural systems within the community?
  • What stresses are the local economy and population putting on those natural systems?

Committee Response: Strengths in the Natural Resource Base

  • Recycling center participation
  • Use of school materials
  • Good produce farms
  • Good private gardens
  • Commitment in perennial/vegetable garden
  • Significant numbers of parcels in current use&endash;awareness to do so
  • Quality of lakes and rivers for landscape, wildlife and aesthetics
  • Summer camps keep development at bay, encourages wildlife diversity
  • Limited development on river
  • Prime agricultural land on river
  • Active land trust program
  • Town is forward thinking and encourages people who look toward alternative energy
  • Town committees for conservation commission and solid waste
  • Lots of environmentally-oriented citizens
  • Lake Fairlee and other environmental associations and land trusts
  • Good communication among townspeople responding to environmental issues
  • Politically active
  • Active participation with water resources
  • Opportunities to raise issues
  • Conservation and preservation of natural resources
  • Lack of industrial polluters/pollution
  • Gravel roads
  • Plenty of local firewood
  • Quality and diversity of natural environments
  • Good land/agricultural, animal habitat, recreational opportunities

Committee Response: Concerns about the Natural Resource Base

  • Problems with Ompompanoosuc&endash;copper mines, high bacteria count and high coliform
  • Leachate from landfill
  • School water supply and Thetford Hill water supply also
  • Level of participation in recycling is very poor&endash;too much isn’t going on, not open enough
  • Littering, burning, failing to recycle
  • Power boats on the river and on the lake affects animals and recreation
  • Lack of swimming holes/area with good water quality
  • Lake Fairlee Dam is failing&endash;leaking, lake shore erosion
  • Energy waste of empty buses
  • Roads too busy to bicycle
  • Roads are not pedestrian/bike friendly
  • Route 113 problem/132 too
  • Limited organic local produce
  • Hunting/shooting near residential areas

The Natural Resource Base: Visions for the Future

  • Blue sky
  • Clean water for recreation, wildlife and drinking
  • Better accommodations for pedestrians and bicycles
    • near schools
    • five downtown hubs
  • Public transportation to Hanover
  • Education programs for resource conservation
  • Alternative means of transportation
  • Maintain valuable, historic bridges to manage traffic flow
  • Farmland continue to operate as farms and expand
  • Maintain natural areas to keep balance with farms
  • Keep up baseline study
  • Interconnected trails/bikeways
  • More comprehensive recycling systems
  • Alternative energy system
  • Barter system/Ithaca money system
  • Community composting&endash;turn post offices into recycling centers

The Natural Resource Base: Key Issues for Now and the Future

  1. Increased water quality for drinking, recreation and wildlife
  2. Transportation system created for more environmentally friendly travel from safer roadways, pedestrian and bike ways to interconnected woodland trails
  3. Expanded recycling program with community composting and more hours and locations
  4. Maintaining farms, open space and natural areas for wildlife and scenic value for character of town
  5. Education programs encouraging stronger environmental ethics

8. How the Community Looks and Feels: Town, Farm, Forest

Statement of Purpose

The natural assets of a community consist of the places of natural beauty that contribute significantly to the quality of life of the residents. Streams, rivers, walking trails, working farms, clean air, pastures and open land help determine a community’s personality. They contribute to the everyday pleasures of community life. A sustainable community practices effective management of natural assets so as not to undermine their existence or ability to function over time.

Questions to Think About

  • What are Thetford’s special water and land sites?
  • Is there a broad community interest and participation in maintaining these?
  • How healthy are the natural systems within the community?
  • What stresses are the local economy and population putting on those natural systems?
  • Are there ways to increase the resilience of the local natural systems to allow them to respond to adverse or changing conditions?
  • Are current systems, such as waste management, handled in a way that preserves the integrity of natural systems in the community without damaging the integrity of natural systems elsewhere?
  • Are the existing businesses environmentally sound?
  • Are the public water sources protected?

Committee Response: Strengths in Community Look and Feel

Committee Response: Concerns about Economic Vitality

Economic Vitality: Visions for the Future

Economic Vitality: Key Issues for Now and the Future

9. Economic Vitality: Stability through Diversity & Local Wealth

Statement of Purpose

The need to maintain flourishing workplaces is of great importance to communities. A sustainable community includes a variety of businesses, industries, and institutions which are environmentally sound, financially viable, provide reasonable wages and benefits to workers, and provides those workers with opportunities to develop their skills through training, education, and other forms of assistance to prepare for the community's future needs. Local control of businesses is also important to the economic health of a community. The more often money circulates within the community before leaving, the more the community benefits.

Questions to Think About

  • What types of businesses, industries and institutions are the economic base of the community?
  • How diverse is the economic base? Is one sector or one employer dominant?
  • Are the existing businesses environmentally sound?
  • Are there local education opportunities providing skills needed by local businesses?
  • What business services are lacking in the community?
  • What types of jobs are available to residents in terms of wage levels, skill levels, & benefits?
  • Do wages allow the majority of the population to enjoy a reasonable lifestyle?
  • What can be done to improve the economic climate and the tax base of the community?
  • What % of the community's businesses have linkages to the local environment or economy?
  • To what extent do local businesses purchase products from each other?
  • What additional business services are needed that could be locally provided and locally owned?
  • Is there an adequate supply of locally owned, locally controlled credit ?
  • Do employees have a voice in the decisions of their employer?
  • Is there a reasonable distribution of wealth across the population?

Committee Response: Strengths in Economic Vitality

  • Natural beauty (attractive to conferences)
  • School system
  • Town plan&endash;prevent ________ growth
  • Attractive to employers&endash;good to relocate
  • Tolerant citizens
  • Work ethic
  • Integrity
  • Accountability among workers/service
  • Human scale
  • Active implementation of new ideas
  • Recession-proof employment in area
  • Home businesses (consulting, designers, home computers, catering, etc.)
  • Transportation access (e.g. Pompanoosuc Mills can ship easily)
  • PM expansion&endash;more variety of jobs
  • "Clean" businesses&endash;environmentally sensitive
  • Low cost of business
    • low rents
    • Post Mills
  • Architectural firms
  • Diverse professional services
  • Available work force (people want to stay here)
  • Proximity to Dartmouth College and Medical Center (reasonable commute)
  • Phone access/system adequate

Committee Response: Concerns about Economic Vitality

  • Loss of farm base&endash;pressure to sell farm land
  • Death of dairy industry
  • Vulnerable to lost farms&endash;loss of beauty of land
  • Insufficient opportunity for lower skilled workers
  • Risk of centrification or homogenous
  • More variety needed in "nonprofessional" trades (e.g. crafts, trades, agricultural)
  • Not enough opportunity for full spectrum of jobs
  • Don’t become Norwich
    • more tolerant
    • don’t need to impress
    • social stigma
  • Physical limits&endash;septic issues
  • Lack of business community&endash;Chamber of Commerce
  • Bedroom community
  • No "downtown"
  • No business amenities&endash;lunch
  • Need resource to identify local businesses
  • Need economic development plan and economic development officer

Economic Vitality: Visions for the Future

  • Skills and opportunity into schools (i.e., stonework, carpentry, etc.)
  • Encourage youth productivity
  • Trade school&endash;computer repair like VTC
  • Academy expand vocational program
  • Adult education&endash;community learning center
  • Bring in "have-nots"
  • More home businesses
  • Small scale business
  • Low impact
  • Preserve quality of life
  • Opportunity for youth
  • Growth in Upper Valley jobs
  • Retirement facility
  • Mentoring for youth and ?
  • Build ties with schools to local talent and local businesses
  • Commuter train to Hanover/Lebanon

Economic Vitality: Key Issues for Now and the Future

  1. How to maintain our quality of life while attracting small scale and low impact businesses
  2. Encourage economic enterprises that serve the social needs of the community, i.e. child care, elder care
  3. How to manage the onset of technology without compromising character of town
  4. Foster mutually supportive business network and community
  5. Develop programs to enhance skills and create opportunities for a broad section of the community, e.g. ties between schools and skills in the community

10. Growth and Development

Statement of Purpose

The need to maintain flourishing workplaces is of great importance to communities. A sustainable community includes a variety of businesses, industries, and institutions which are environmentally sound, financially viable, provide reasonable wages and benefits to workers, and provides those workers with opportunities to develop their skills through training, education, and other forms of assistance to prepare for the community's future needs. Local control of businesses is also important to the economic health of a community. The more often money circulates within the community before leaving, the more the community benefits.

Questions to Think About

  • What types of businesses, industries and institutions are the economic base of the community?
  • How diverse is the economic base? Is one sector or one employer dominant?
  • Are the existing businesses environmentally sound?
  • Are there local education opportunities providing skills needed by local businesses?
  • What business services are lacking in the community?
  • What types of jobs are available to residents in terms of wage levels, skill levels, & benefits?
  • Do wages allow the majority of the population to enjoy a reasonable lifestyle?
  • What can be done to improve the economic climate and the tax base of the community?
  • What % of the community's businesses have linkages to the local environment or economy?
  • To what extent do local businesses purchase products from each other?
  • What additional business services are needed that could be locally provided and locally owned?
  • Is there an adequate supply of locally owned, locally controlled credit ?
  • Do employees have a voice in the decisions of their employer?
  • Is there a reasonable distribution of wealth across the population?

Committee Response: Strengths in Growth and Development

  • Thetford is known for cross-country program
  • Known for library antique show
  • Volunteer events
  • Reputation and recognition will draw people
  • Farm stands and produce
  • Cluster housing/development is strength
  • Absence of public transportation
  • Only one strip mall
  • Small business can get started here&endash;small business friendly
  • No industrial park (strength or weakness?)
  • Low property values
  • Growth has been slower than surrounding towns
  • Community profile
  • Good schools
  • Town Meeting
  • No impact fees
  • Within driving distance from college and hospital
  • Schools are clustered at center of town
  • Lot size regulations help to keep rural character
  • Only two houses on a driveway
  • Multiple villages
  • Lots of views&endash;scenic
  • Act 250
  • Have a Planning Commission
  • P.C. and Zoning are same people&endash;continuity/sense of town activity
  • Well established zoning ordinances
  • Wonderful mix of socio-economic-age&endash;all groups contribute
  • Arthur Bacon
  • Upper Valley Land Trust is active
  • UVLS Council is active
  • Valuable, viable and variable landscape
  • Designated historic district
  • Snowmobile trails
  • UVD and Thetford State Park as planning element

Committee Response: Concerns about Growth and Development

  • No public transportation
  • No sidewalks or bike paths
  • High property taxes serve as disincentive for maintaining or improving your property
  • No business tax base
  • Lack of communication between PC/ZB and town
  • Allow illuminated signs
  • Lack of enforcement of regulations in historic districts
  • Not enough adequate restrictions for land use with far-reaching impacts
  • No sewage or water infrastructure
  • Inadequate traffic control
  • No civic association
  • No cohesiveness among towns
  • Lack town center
  • Lack of community building for public gatherings
  • No energy or time to work on anything
  • PC or ZB doesn’t have representation from each town
  • Town leaders see villages as ‘town’/villages see villages as independent
  • Unpleasant publicity about schools
  • Fractionalization &emdash;income and education
  • Disparities in income and employment
  • Lack of diverse participation
  • Lack of respect for different groups
  • Regressive taxes
  • No teen facilities
  • Too competitive with other towns (in terms of education)
  • No common vision
  • Buildings go up without appropriate zoning

Growth and Development: Visions for the Future

  • Art center&endash;visual, performing, etc.
  • Preserve rural character
  • Affordable: housing, taxes, living, transportation
  • Foundations to help with taxes and events
  • Appropriate village-friendly small businesses
  • All existing small businesses thriving
  • Youth center
  • Town social center
  • Affordable senior housing

Shared vision of future

  • Unified effort&endash;maximize participation, bring in folks who have not been participating
  • Youths involved in the process of planning and growth
  • Reclaim abused land/resources
  • Viable plan for a middle school
  • Plan to care for the elderly
  • Tax stabilization for elderly
  • Helping to provide for each other
  • Enlarge the village districts

Growth and Development: Key Issues for Now and the Future

  1. Affordability
    1. taxes
    2. housing
    3. living
  2. Social services/caring
  3. Land stewardship
  4. Aim to become a town as a whole, not a sum of its parts
  5. Business or not
  6. A "center" of town

After these small group discussions each group selected one member to present their five key issues to the full group the following morning. Each group entrusted their notes to one member who passed them on to the facilitator for safe keeping. We adjourned for the evening, to return in the morning to continue the good work we had begun.

KEY ISSUES

Townspeople reassembled in the high school gym Saturday morning and were greeted by hot coffee and tea and a delicious pancake breakfast contributed by Gary Ulman and Crew. There were a few folks there who had not been present Friday evening and they soon felt the enthusiasm of the rest of the group. Similarly, a few members of the Friday small groups were missing. However, most of the people were stalwarts who had signed on for both days.

The ten easels from the small groups of the night before were arrayed across the front of the room, each bearing a list of the five key issues for that topic area. Our working day began with short presentations from a member of each of the groups, explaining their group's list. [The facilitator] then presented us with her version of a condensed list of ten overarching issues which she felt had come up repeatedly in various ways in the small group lists. The entire group worked together to evaluate and hone this list. After some discussion ten key issues emerged as important to study for the future of Thetford. This list is presented below:

  1. Communication and Connection&endash;information about events and activities, information from leaders, information to new residents, awareness of community talents and volunteer needs, other towns and state
  2. Town Unity and Spirit&endash;reduce polarization, increase neighborliness and civility, focus on town history, culture and heritage, creating positive environment, links between long-time and newer residents
  3. Leadership and Involvement&endash;more civil, pro-active and visionary leadership, shared sense of responsibility, less apathy, more volunteerism, issue resolution process, continuity/institutional memory, planning/visioning process
  4. Social Responsibility&endash;meeting needs of parents, families, youth, senior citizens through local caring and enterprises, multi-age, addressing poverty issues, health and safety
  5. Economic Vitality&endash;appropriate, small-scale, low-impact businesses, natural resource-based, welcome technology without compromising character, strengthen ties of local business community, better tax base, poverty issues, agricultural viability
  6. Shared Facilities and Resources&endash;schools and other buildings fully utilized by all segments of community, balance of resources between villages, town center, places to meet and have town activities, central hub
  7. Planning for Rural Character&endash;managed growth, zoning, village preservation versus bedroom community, balance of village and green space, affordable housing, linking villages and resources, community center, demographic pressure, rural character preservation
  8. Natural Resource Preservation&endash;open space, protecting agricultural land, water and river, land stewardship, educating public about natural resources and environmental ethic, Connecticut River corridor
  9. Infrastructure&endash;transportation, road management, linking trails, waste management, increased recycling
  10. Arts, Education and Culture&endash;life-long learning, education as community-wide responsibility, culture, arts, aesthetics, education through interaction

PROJECT IDENTIFICATION AND EVALUATION

Next, participants each chose which of the ten key issues they would like to discuss further and broke into small groups accordingly. The task of each group was to think about problems that existed in each area and then to brainstorm possible solutions/answers to the issue identified. We did that by thinking out loud for half an hour or so about "Problems" and "goals" and then we suggested solutions, from practical to fanciful to idealistic. The next step was to evaluate the reality of each of possible solution/project using the following impact/feasibility grid.

Impact:

How much will it matter?

 

High

 

 

 

 

Moderate

 

 

 

 

Low

 

 

 

 

 

Low

 

Moderate

 

High

Feasibility: How possible is it in our community?

We copied this grid onto a piece of large easel paper and each of our proposed solutions onto sticky notes. For each solution, the group decided together what the feasibility and impact of the solution would be. Then we placed the sticky note in the appropriate box.

Based on the grid, each group chose three solutions and wrote them up as proposals on their easel to be presented to the large group. some groups chose only proposals with high impact/feasibility ratings, while others chose projects from a variety of ratings. Small projects which were highly feasible, but of low impact, were favored by those who wanted to start small and accomplish something quickly. Long term, difficult projects had advocates who were willing to commit to longer struggles with high rewards. Many of the groups proposed a combination of proposals. Notes from each of the groups are presented below.

1. Communication

Clarification of the problem/issue to be addressed

  • hostility as a barrier to open communication
  • define purpose/meaning of communication
  • sufficient forums for sharing information
  • need alternative to Valley News&endash;authoritative and available
  • identify and recognize value of information
  • lack of listening skills/fear of information gathered
  • fragmentation
  • lack of common experiences
  • information overload, need to be selective
  • identification of interests
  • information versus data
  • how to disseminate information (i.e., this event)
  • need reliable contact&endash;single contact
  • no newsletter
  • decentralized community
  • lack of understanding regarding need to share/make available information

Goals

  1. Develop newsletter&endash;Thetford specific
  2. Town managed bulletin boards at Recycling Center, schools, stores, etc.
    1. official
    2. commercial
    3. community news
    4. needs
  3. Placement in each village
  4. Policy regarding publication

Possible Solutions

  • face-to-face
  • mechanisms for organizations
  • bulletin boards/kiosks
  • Behind the Times
  • Valley News Thetford page
  • sandwich boards
  • newsletters (Academy, PTA, Elementary, etc.)
  • meetings
  • church bulletins
  • annual report
  • Thetford telephone book
  • web site
  • telephone trees

Project Evaluations

High Impact/High Feasibility

Meetings

High Impact/Moderate Feasibility

Enhanced Thetford Community Directory

High Impact/Low Feasibility

Establish a publishing body

Moderate Impact/High Feasibility

Structured bulletin boards/kiosks

Moderate Impact/Moderate Feasibility

Web site (*but it happened*;-)

Proposals for Large Group

  1. Establish publishing body and process for ongoing collection and distribution of community information (hard copy and electronic)
  2. Develop/implement managed bulletin boards for timely posting of minutes, etc.
  3. Schedule periodic community forum meetings

2. Town Unity

Clarification of the problem/issue to be addressed

  • geographic divisions
  • native versus newcomers
  • lack of respect/consideration
  • economic disparity
  • lack of welcoming to newcomers
  • lack of social gathering
  • too busy
  • lack of understanding and respect and a lack of opportunities for positive interaction between diverse groups of people (socio-economic, age, native versus newcomer, geographic)

Goals

  1. Provide opportunities for positive interaction&endash;social, cultural
  2. Better communication
  3. Opportunities to learn about town history from town’s long-time residents
  4. Create safe environment for political discourse
  5. Joint planning and participation from all groups
  6. Town should actively address issues of economic disparity
  7. Build a sense of community

Possible Solutions

  • Thetford Town Day (inclusion of long-term residents, stories, history)
  • committee of village representatives
  • town newsletter
  • bring long-time residents into schools to talk about town history
  • bring existing organizations into planning process for town unity
  • return to day Town Meeting, possibly Saturday
  • annual festival within each village&endash;tag sales
  • more neighborhood gatherings
  • bimonthly coffeehouse in Thetford Center Community Center sponsored by different groups
  • barn museum open more often
  • oral history
  • more use of schools and churches for social/cultural gatherings
  • "Those Guys" project

Project Evaluations

High Impact/High Feasibility

  • Return to day Town Meeting, possibly Saturday
  • Oral history
  • Town newsletter including stories from long-time residents

High Impact/Moderate Feasibility

  • Committee of village representatives
  • Bring existing organizations into planning process for town unity

High Impact/Low Feasibility

  • Thetford Town Day&endash;inclusive of long-term residents, stories and history

Moderate Impact/High Feasibility

  • More use of churches and schools for social/cultural gatherings
  • Bimonthly coffeehouse in Thetford Center Community Center or at Recycling Center sponsored by different groups

Moderate Impact/Moderate Feasibility

  • Annual festival in each village&endash;tag sales
  • Bring long-time residents into schools to talk about town history
  • "Those Guys" project

Low Impact/High Feasibility

  • More neighborhood gatherings&endash;barbecues, potlucks, church suppers

Low Impact/Low Feasibility

  • Barn museum open more often 

Proposals for Large Group

  1. Combine Town Meeting and school district meeting on Saturday&endash;daytime with town lunch
  2. Collect oral histories from long-time residents
    1. publish in a newsletter
    2. bring residents into schools
    3. long-time residents tell stories and history at community function
  3. Bi-monthly coffee get-togethers, on Saturdays during recycling times, to be sponsored by various groups within the community&endash;location TBA

Leadership and Involvement

Clarification of the problem/issue to be addressed

  • need for more positive involvement
  • more respect and patience for elected/appointed officials
  • less defensiveness and more responsiveness to input/participation
  • more responsiveness from town officials/leaders
  • evidence of responsiveness
  • issues become crisis before people know about them
  • solutions get adopted before adequate processing

Goals

  1. More civil practice and visionary leadershi
  2. Shared sense of responsibility
  3. Less apathy
  4. More volunteerism
  5. Issue resolution process
  6. Continuity and institutional memory
  7. Vision and planning process

Possible Solutions

  • "Thetford Handbook of Community Involvement"
    • committees
    • town organizations
    • update yearly
  • develop team to promote, coordinate, and invite participation&endash;make participation easier
  • town-wide newsletter/vehicle to communicate town-wide information, committee updates
  • establish guidelines for elected and appointed officials&endash;documentation, reporting, responsiveness, accountability
  • forums for discussions
  • have historic and forecast data user-friendly and accessible
  • establish guidelines for maintaining relevant and coherent records from all committees

Project Evaluations

High Impact/High Feasibility

  • Handbook
  • Newsletter

High Impact/Moderate Feasibility

  • Involvement Promotion Team (outreach)

Moderate Impact/Moderate Feasibility

  • Forums
  • Guidelines for officials

Low Impact/Low Feasibility

  • History and forecasts

Proposals for Large Group

  1. Newspaper (town news, schools, town government, events, meeting schedules, committee reports, questions, forums, etc.)
  2. Forums for regular community dialogue (promote village participation)
  3. Guidelines for maintaining relevant and coherent records from all committees

4. Social Responsibility

Clarification of the problem/issue to be addressed

  • seniors&endash;isolation, health care, transportation, lack of senior center, no community dinners
  • alienation (emotional)/Isolation (physical)&endash;common to many groups
  • substance abuse
  • physical abuse
  • road safety/pedestrian
  • lack of affordable day care and elder care
  • poverty (lack of adequate clothing, nutrition, shelter, jobs)
  • disability&endash;access to buildings
  • violence&endash;emotional and physical
  • lack of intervention, involvement, awareness, mechanism for response
  • teenage pregnancy, STDs, HIV, sexuality, unhealthy relationships

Goal

  1. All responsible for each other

Possible Solutions

  • teen volunteerism&endash;school-based service learning projects, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, local churches
  • maximize vehicle&endash;how to connect needs with resources, reach community as a whole
  • outreach&endash;develop mentoring, adult/teen partnerships, organization tracking, integrate community-school partnership
  • Neighbors Helping Neighbors&endash;local neighborhoods
  • town nurse clinic/school-based clinic
  • calling and caring, i.e., seniors visited and called
  • teen center
  • safe house
  • seniors as helpers
  • advocacy education
  • teen center site and program supervision
  • safe house
  • new (first time) parents of infants group
  • community meals as activity-based interventions
  • community boots and coats
  • senior advocate coordinator
  • AA outreach education
  • Citizens Advocacy Response Team
  • book of resources mailed (Town Meeting Book)
  • community bulletin board
  • intergenerational resource center with staff next to cafe and recycling
  • caution lights at 113/244 and Thetford Hill
  • people to people&endash;teaching attitude of caring
  • home safety checks

Project Evaluations

High Impact/Moderate Feasibility

  • New parents groups
  • Play groups

High Impact/Low Feasibility

  • Intergenerational resource center with staff next to recycling and cafe
  • Caution lights at 133/244 and on Thetford Hill
  • Interface with existing resources via Thetford representative
  • Education about what’s available&endash;and advocacy
  • Teen center site, programs and supervision

Moderate Impact/High Feasibility

  • Seniors as helpers

Moderate Impact/Moderate Feasibility

  • School-based clinic
  • Welcome Wagon (noncommercial)

Low Impact/Low Feasibility

  • Safe house
  • Town nurse clinic

Proposals for Large Group

  • Establish Citizens Advocacy and Response Team
  • Develop book of resources
  • Begin a Meal of the Month program

5. Economic Vitality

Clarification of the problem/issue to be addressed

  • use available resources for regional planning, i.e., Tuck, UVLSC
  • regional coordination
  • find ways to promote agriculture, farm and forest
  • what kind of businesses can town have impact on
  • health of local Thetford businesses&endash;vital to stability, neighborliness/interconnections of community
  • equitable tax, living wages within community
  • perception versus reality&endash;perception of suburban not necessarily true
  • communication between business owners&endash;forums
  • lack of visibility of businesses
  • assessment of businesses needed
  • assessment of businesses we already have&endash;inventory

Possible Solutions

  • assessment of communities’ needs for local businesses, i.e., survey
  • business directory, alumni association
  • business fair
  • agricultural "ideas" exchange/farmers support group
  • community supported agriculture
  • buy local marketing program
  • Thetford farmers market or bazaar/seasonal/weekly
  • social gathering place
  • economic assessment existence--UVLC/master plan coordination
  • mentoring and apprenticeship with agriculture and local businesses
  • tax incentives for local businesses
  • town tax restructuring for life-long affordability

Project Evaluations

High Impact/Moderate Feasibility

  • Buy local marketing
  • Apprentice program

High Impact/Low Feasibility

  • Tax incentives for local businesses
  • Town tax equities

Moderate Impact/High Feasibility

  • Business directory

Moderate Impact/Moderate Feasibility

  • CSA&endash;community supported agriculture
  • Business fair

Moderate Impact/Low Feasibility

  • Agricultural "ideas" forum
  • Market/bazaar
  • Gathering place for exchange of ideas

Low Impact/High Feasibility

  • Economic assessment&endash;UVLC Council
  • Assess needs for local businesses 

Proposals for Large Group

  1. Economic Assessment Business Directory
    1. What is here
    2. What do we want
    3. UVLSC/Tuck
  2. Buy locally marketing program
    1. Products and services
    2. Market/Bazaar
  3. Incentives for Local Businesses
    1. Local hiring
    2. Apprentice programs

6. Shared Facilities and Resources

 

Clarification of the problem/issue to be addressed

  • maintaining village identities&endash;shared professional resources at hub?/shared tools?
  • centralized hub for further communication and sense of community
  • lack of children’s center and elders’ center
  • preserve village character yet develop a center all can use
  • maintain diversity yet move to centralize
  • better use of things that already exist
  • resource inventory
  • to be able to identify and create central place(s) where all residents can (come together) utilize
  • identify main needs: recycling; cafe; teen center; library; town hall; transportation hub; arts and auditorium; senior activities; athletic/social recreation; pool and tennis(?); farmers market; day care and community bulletin board; community group meeting place
  • vehicle for brad concerns of entire community
  • discovering common ground

Goals

  1. Idea of a HUB very important
  2. Aesthetics and environmental impact

Possible Solutions

  • schools and other buildings fully utilized by all segments of the community
  • balance of resources between villages
  • town center
  • places to meet and have town activities
  • central hub

Project Evaluations

Low Impact/Moderate Feasibility

Shared resources

Low Impact/Low Feasibility

Swimming

Proposals for Large Group

  1. Create a "virtual" community center by linking and retrofitting existing facilities in Thetford Center, Thetford Hill and E. Thetford
    1. Schools --Transportation Hub
    2. Churches --Recycling Ctr.
    3. Grange --Social recreation for teens, seniors, newcomers
    4. Town Hall --Small group meetings
    5. Legion --Farmers Market
    6. Town Garage --Cafe/Coffeehouse
    7. Library --Community bulletin boards
  2. Incorporate a community center with multiple functions into and/or near a new school
    1. Arts and auditorium
    2. Athletic/recreation facilities
    3. All of the items listed under #1 above
  3. Create an independent community center with multiple functions

7. Rural Character [PART OF THIS SECTION MISSING???]

Clarification of the problem/issue to be addressed

Goal

Possible Solutions

Project Evaluations

  • High Impact/Moderate Feasibility
  • High Impact/Low Feasibility
  • Moderate Impact/High Feasibility
  • Moderate Impact/Moderate Feasibility
  • Low Impact/Low Feasibility

Proposals for Large Group

  1. Create a visionary, long-term planning committee charged with finding ways to preserve/retain the rural character of the town&endash;tasks to include:
    1. researching tools/models from other communities
    2. rethinking zoning and land-use planning
    3. creating an overall pla
  2. Proposal that all new public facilities (such as possible middle school) be clustered in existing villages and adaptively reuse existing buildings whenever possible
  3. Make use of existing/new avenues of communication to share information and gather ideas about retaining rural character and to stimulate citizen participation

8. Natural Resource Preservation

Clarification of the problem/issue to be addressed

  • Summary: Thetford’s increased population and changing way of life may adversely impact natural and agricultural resources, and there is a lack of connection and knowledge base about the town’s natural resources
  • squandering natural resources&endash;due to more use; more industry; more people
  • concern for sustainable natural resource balance
  • education about natural resources
  • introduce people&endash;disseminate knowledge
  • lack of knowledge/sensitivity
  • lack of connection and knowledge base about natural, historical and agricultural resources
  • behavioral changes?
  • concern for maintaining quality of natural environment
  • humanity versus wildlife
  • increased population contributes to impact on natural resource problems
  • long-range thinking about wildlife

Goals

  1. Protecting open space and land
  2. Water, river and land stewardship
  3. Educating public about natural resources and environmental ethic
  4. Wildlife (Connecticut River Corridor)

Possible Solutions

  • education about user etiquette on public and private land
  • town collaboration with land trusts to maintain open spaces and working farms
  • guidance for private landowners making decisions to manage their land
  • encourage thinking that people are part of nature
  • make available educational opportunities and community resources in schools and community to learn more about our natural environment and sensitive areas or corridors (wildlife)
  • provide communications about timely natural history events and local environmental projects via bulletins; town web site; library; newsletter
  • disseminate information about, plan and take action steps on: a) Strafford Copper Mine leachate; b) Thetford landfill leachate; c) milfoil in Lake Fairlee; and d) Lake Fairlee dam leaking
  • maintain corridors for regional wildlife movement and establish educational programs with long-range thinking
  • establish ongoing research about community’s natural resources through inventory/collection process

Project Evaluation

  • [The cards were no longer in their grid locations so it was not possible to determine how the committee evaluated the feasibility of the proposed projects.]
  • Proposals for Large Group

    1. Make available educational opportunities to learn more about our natural environment: 1) our place within the natural environment; 2) etiquette on private/public land use; 3) sensitive areas and wildlife corridors
    2. Provide communications about timely natural history events and local environmental projects through: 1) bulletins; 2) town web site; 3) newsletter; 4) library
    3. Plan and take action steps to resolve Lake Fairlee Dam leaking

    9. Infrastructure

    Clarification of the problem/issue to be addressed

    • water (fire/drinking)
    • roads/bridges/trails
    • emergency services/communications
    • buildings&endash;lack of understanding of building needs and opportunities (use, renovation)
    • waste (sewers/septic/recycling)&endash;lack of a plan for sustainable use and disposal of material resources
    • transportation (mass/public/individual)&endash;lack of oversight and coordination re: inventory, safety, access, maps, road/non-road alternatives

    Goals

    1. Transportation, road management, linking trails, waste management, increased recycling
    2. Community centers, schools, fire stations, legion hall
    3. Building inventory and availability/useability&endash;size, logistics, bathrooms, seating, costs, need for new buildings

    Possible Solutions

    • building inventory
    • more community involvement on existing committees
    • Thetford landfill
    • plan
    • increased fees for waste disposal
    • wastewater treatment plant
    • how we site buildings
    • explore alternative systems and implement/evaluate them
    • form a building needs committee
    • build a new large community center
    • renovate existing buildings
    • building inventory
    • recreational fields and facilities
    • new middle school
    • public transportation&endash;teens/seniors
    • chickens in road
    • lowered speed limits, enforcement and education
    • maps of trails/bikeways
    • transportation committee
    • pedestrian access/sidewalks
    • improved shoulders
    • rail trail

    Project Evaluations

    High Impact/High Feasibility

    • Maps of trails and bikeways
    • Transportation Committee
    • Pedestrian access&endash;sidewalks, shoulders, crosswalks

    High Impact/Moderate Feasibility

    • Plan for sustainable use and disposal of material resources
    • Lowered speed limits&endash;enforcement and education
    • Recycling Committee&endash;more community involvement/participation
    • Renovate existing buildings

    High Impact/Low Feasibility

    • Wastewater treatment plant
    • Thetford landfill
    • Evaluate new middle school building
    • Location/siting of buildings

    Moderate Impact/High Feasibility

    • Form a Building Needs Committee
    • Do a building inventory
    • Public transportation for teens, seniors, i.e., AT at P & R

    Moderate Impact/Moderate Feasibility

    • Explore alternative waste treatment technologies, implement and evaluate
    • Maintain facilities and programs at Treasure Island
    • Increased fees for waste disposal

    Moderate Impact/Low Feasibility

    • Rail trail

    Low Impact/High Feasibility

    • Chickens in road

    Low Impact/Moderate Feasibility

    • Playing fields and facilities

    Low Impact/Low Feasibility

    • Build a new, large community center

    Proposals for Large Group

    1. Form a Transportation Committee
      1. maps of trails, bikeways
      2. increase pedestrian access
      3. public transportation for teens/seniors
      4. enforcement and education of speed limits
      5. explore rail trail
      6. explore funding option
    2. Form a Building Needs and Availability Committee
      1. building inventory (size, logistics, uses, needs, bathrooms, cost)
      2. consider renovating existing buildings
      3. explore funding option
    3. Develop a plan for use and disposal of material resources

     

    10. Arts, Education and Culture

     

    Clarification of the problem/issue to be addressed

    • mission: to promote ways to use culture, diverse arts, and education to foster strong community relations and lifelong learning
      • literacy
      • cultural exchange
      • new fields
      • beyond school-based, i.e., work-based
      • interconnectivity (outside Thetford)

       

    Goals

    1. Lifelong learning, education as a community-wide responsibility
    2. Culture, arts, aesthetics, education through interaction
    3. Expand learning and education to all people (beyond school-based)
      1. into community
      2. identify community education needs
      3. affordability
      4. experiential/workplace
      5. community outreach
    4. reconnection&endash;book learning and experience

    Possible Solutions

    • nontraditional educational classes: knitting; car repair; art; sheep shearing; plumbing; apple press; astrology/astronomy; cooking
    • annual/monthly festival/cultural awareness/sharing of experiences day
    • elderly sharing stories/experiences with youth
    • assess and match community needs and resources and interests&endash;make catalog available to everyone
    • community projects identified
    • mentoring opportunities
    • common gathering place: network; physical location; multipurpose facility (within schools/outside of schools); identify existing buildings and consider expanded use
    • better involve/utilize library to promote literacy: involve seniors; free-lending library
    • identify opportunities to exchange needed services, i.e., plumbing à literacy
    • identify local employers/entrepreneurs/individuals who will share/assist in making connections, i.e., school-based à community-based learning
    • questionnaire to identify skills/resources and make list available to all community members
    • feedback mechanism

    Project Evaluations

    High Impact/High Feasibility

    • Evaluate educational efforts
    • Identify skill-sharing opportunities
    • Assess needs/resources
    • Promote library as a resource

    High Impact/Moderate Feasibility

    • Mentor program
    • Gathering place

    Moderate Impact/High Feasibility

    • Literacy issues: volunteers; library; exchange
    • Identify existing buildings available
    • Nontraditional classes
    • Identify community projects
    •  

    Moderate Impact/Moderate Feasibility

    • Town-wide festival

    Proposals for Large Group

    1. Identify cultural and educational needs of our residents and develop mechanisms for sharing skills and experiences
    2. Annual Arts, Education and Cultural community-wide celebration of past, present and future to unify and promote caring within the community, i.e., arts, crafts, businesses, storytelling, farming, etc.

     

    PROJECT SELECTION

    We returned to the large group after lunch break and the facilitator, Deecie McNelly???, reviewed the projects each group had selected for presentation to the large group. She led a short discussion about whether or not some projects overlapped, and how to combine others which were closely related. In the list of projects that follows, the ones which were combined or dropped from consideration are enclosed in brackets. [....]

    Every participant received five adhesive dots to use to "vote" on projects he/she thought were important for Thetford to work on right away. Each voter could place as many dots as they wished by any one project, dividing their vote as they pleased. The projects receiving the most votes would then be discussed in small groups. The list of project ideas follows. The number of votes each received is also noted.

     

     

     

    Votes

     

    Proj. No.

     

    Project Name

     

    103

    1.1

     

    Establish publishing body and process for ongoing collection and distribution of community information (hard copy and electronic)

     

    1

    1.2

     

    Develop/implement managed bulletin boards for timely posting of minutes, etc.

    [see 3.2]

    1.3

     

    [Schedule periodic community forum meetings]

     

    32

    2.1

     

    Combine Town Meeting and School District Meeting on Saturday&endash;daytime w/ town lunch

     

    20

    2.2

     

    Collect oral histories from longtime residents

     

     

    12

     

    2.3

     

    Bimonthly coffee get-together on Saturdays during recycling times to be sponsored by various groups within the community&endash;location TBA

    [see 1.1]

    3.1

     

    [Newspaper&endash;town news, schools, town gov’t, events, mtg. schedules, committee rpts, etc.]

     

    18

    3.2

     

    Forums for regular community dialogue&endash;promote village participation

     

     

    4

     

    3.3

     

    Guidelines for maintaining relevant and coherent records from all committees

     

    55

    4.1

     

    Establish Citizens Advocacy and Response Team

     

    2

    4.2

     

    Develop book of resources

     

    1

    4.3

     

    Meal-of-the-Month

     

    14

    5.1

     

    Economic assessment/business directory

     

    5

    5.2

     

    Buy locally marketing program

     

    3

    5.3

     

    Incentives for local businesses

     

    62

    6.1

     

    Create a "virtual" community center by linking and retrofitting existing facilities in Thetford Center, Thetford Hill and E. Thetford

     

    15

    6.2

     

    Incorporate a community center with multiple functions into and/or near a new school

     

    1

    6.3

     

    Create an independent community center with multiple functions

     

    52

    7.1

     

    Create a visionary, long-term planning committee charged with finding ways to preserve/retain the rural character of the town

     

    18

    7.2

     

    Proposal that all new public facilities (such as possible middle school) be clustered in existing villages and adaptively reuse existing buildings whenever possible

    [see 1.1]

    7.3

     

    [Make use of existing/new avenues of communication to share information and gather ideas about retaining rural character and to stimulate citizen participation]

     

    15

    8.1

     

    Make available educational opportunities to learn more about our natural environment

    [see 1.1]

    8.2

     

    [Provide communications about timely natural history events and local environmental projects through bulletins, town web site, newsletter, library]

     

    10

    8.3

     

    Plan and take action steps to resolve Lake Fairlee Dam leaking

     

    22

    9.1

     

    Form a Transportation Committee

    [see 6.1]

    9.2

     

    [Form a Building Needs and Availability Committee]

     

    3

    9.3

     

    Develop a plan for use and disposal of material resources

     

    29

    10.1

     

    Identify cultural and educational needs of our residents and develop mechanisms for sharing skills and experiences

     

    11

    10.2

     

    Annual Arts, Education and Cultural community-wide celebration of past, present and future to unify and promote caring within the community, i.e., arts, crafts, businesses, storytelling, farming, etc.

     

    ACTION STEPS

    As the group evaluated the results of their voting, they decided to focus in on the five projects with the most votes. These were:

    • Virtual Community Center
    • Citizens Advocacy and Response Team
    • Combined Town and School District Meeting
    • Thetford Learning Exchange
    • Thetford Information Group

    Participants once again self-selected themselves into small groups according to the topic that interested them most. These groups would function as a committee for the afternoon, brainstorming who else in the community might be interested in joining the group later, and who in town is already working on the issue and might be looking to collaborate.

    Each group was asked to define the following:

    • Critical Steps to Implementation
    • Resources Needed
    • Principal Leadership (group or individual)
    • Potential Obstacles with Possible Strategies to Overcome Them
    • Timeline for Implementation
    • Action Step Coordinator

    Some of the groups used these steps as a way to focus their discussions and notes, while others did not. Hence, the reports that follow are in a number of different formats:

     

    1. Citizens Advocacy and Response Team

    Contact person: Martha Daum (333-4082)

    1st Mtg: 7:30 pm, Wed, Nov 19, Thetford Hill Church (or Latham Library)

    Facilitators: Robert Bryant, 785-4512 and Jean Gerber, 333-4858

    Attendees:

    • Martha Daum 333-4082
    • Judy Dixon 333-9524
    • Bob Hagen 785-4311
    • Phil Hall 333-4077
    • Cindy Malmquist 333-9260
    • Carol Mullen 333-4851
    • Paula Perry 785-2181
    • Ginger Wallis 785-4717
    • Ann Wickham 785-2083

    Goals

    • Increase opportunities for teens to serve
    • Identify those who need service
    • Identify those who benefit from serving others, i.e., seniors, girl/boy scouts, youth groups, interfaith groups
    • Preserve/foster self-esteem of those in need
    • Provide intergenerational opportunities
    • Identify resources (agencies and service organizations) in community and how to access
    • Mentoring
    • Catalogue potential skills and match with needs

    Resources Needed

    • Members to contact various community groups or persons: Roberta Howard (Town Clerk); Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts (Bill and Helen Huff); Post Mills Congregational Church; Interfaith Group; Thetford Academy Youth Volunteer Group; community service group for kids and adults (Karen Whately); Lyme guys; Brownies/Thetford Ctr.; Timothy Frost (Bertha Brown); Thetford Hill Church; Principle of Elementary School; Fire Dept. (Ken McDaniels); senior advocate (Eleanor Zue); Mary Corrigan; Dave McGinn; Judith Hunter

    Potential Obstacles

    • Meeting time
    • Complexity/diversity of existing volunteer efforts
    • Busy people
    • Organization of resources (logistics&endash;coordinating those with needs with resources)
    • Funding

    Action Steps

    • Copy goals from meeting to bring to planning meeting (Jean Gerber or Cindy Malmquist)
    • Set agenda
    • Create questionnaire to present to groups/individuals who will be invited to organizational meeting
    • Hold organizational meeting (to create steering committee)

    2. Combined Town and School District Meeting

    Contact persons: Any attendee listed below

    1st Mtg: 7:30 pm, Tues, Nov 18, Thetford Elementary School (transportation available)

    Facilitator:

    • Mary Spata, 333-4624

    Attendees:

    • Frances Adams 785-4093
    • Rick Fowle 785-4527
    • Steve Hoffman 785-4039
    • Mary Spata 333-4624

    Goals

    • Bring people together/create social opportunit
      • luncheon
      • more time for agenda and discussion
      • combine school and town meeting
    • Return vote at meeting&endash;polls open for voting
    • Daytime meeting
    • Everyone has opportunity to comment
    • Fewer conflicts with work
    • Respect others’ opinions
    • Current meetings result in out of sync voting
    • Establish civil conduct
    • Opportunity for child participation&endash;attending meeting (child care also available)

    Resources Needed

    • Get on warrant for March Meeting
    • Obtain petition from Town Hall
    • Sign petition or get Selectboard approval
    • Support from community for the idea
    • Get school board support for warrant or petition warrant

    Action Steps

    • Promote the idea
    • Identify steps to get warrant article and to get on agenda for Selectboard Meeting (Rick) and School Board Meeting (Frances)

    3. Virtual Community Center

    Contact person: Bob Walker (785-4126)

    1st Mtg: 7:30 pm, Wed, Nov 19, Latham Library

    Facilitators: Jim Masland and Lisa Celone

    Attendees:

    • John Arnold 785-4248
    • Susan Arnold 785-4248
    • Barbara DeFelice 785-4121
    • Elfie Forbes 785-4247
    • Lynn Lylaky 785-4227
    • Suzanne Trumbore 785-4894
    • Bob Walker 785-4126
    • Mary Walker 785-4512
    • Cecy Young 785-4530

    Goals

    • Establish a community center:
    • Ideal = central hub
    • Short term = more than one activity center with sharing of activities community-wide

    Potential Obstacles

    • Too spread out (five post offices)
    • Lack of common incentive to gather (w/ exception of recycling center)
    • Lack of transportation
    • Cost
    • Lack of input
    • Lack of information about town activities
    • No common meeting place

    Action Steps

    • Create committee to solicit input from various constituents
    • Inventory needs/functions of existing facilities, locations, human resources
    • Consider transportation/safety needs
    • Coordinate with Communications Committee
    • Coordinate with existing efforts (Town Hall, fiberoptics, recycling, etc.)
    • Write work plan to accomplish the above tasks

    4. Thetford Learning Exchange

    Contact person: Diana Moore (785-2215)

    1st Mtg: 3:00 pm, Sun, Nov 23, at Diana’s home (call for directions)

    Facilitators: Mark Richardson and Jan Papirmeister

    Attendees:

    • Liora Alschular 785-3125/2623
    • Faith Childs 649-5434
    • Roger Daum 333-4082
    • Julia Eaton 333-9232
    • Sue Gault 785-2805
    • Rebecca Gottesman 785-4236
    • Diana Moore 785-2215
    • Joel Teenyanoff 785-4813
    • Brad Vietje 785-2898

    Goals

    • To establish a Thetford Learning Exchange
    • To advance individual and community growth through arts, education and culture
    • Identification of resources
    • Development of mentoring program, courses, discussion groups, annual cultural festival

    Resources Needed

    • Development of and instructors found for such diverse courses as the following examples: adult computer education; music (classes and events); antiques; art (watercolors, drawing, etc.); astronomy/telescope making; practical home and auto repair; sculpture; health and healing; dreams and visions; bird/nature walks; Thetford’s natural history; Thetford’s actual history; Agriculture in Thetford (past and present); forestry; logging; sheep shearing; garden harvesting; maple sugaring, etc.
    • S.C.O.R.E. in Thetford
    • Grants

    Potential Obstacles

    • Costs: space, catalog

    Action Steps

    • Plan courses: health and healing; computer; art; and natural environment
    • Contact Cabin Fever University for catalogue
    • Take inventory of resources
    • Establish a directory of resources
    • Develop course descriptions and instructors’ bio’s

    5. Thetford Information Group

    Contact person: Bill Weyrick (333-9430 or bill.weyrick@hitchcock.org)

    1st Mtg: 10:00 am, Sat, Dec 13, Thetford Academy Library

    Facilitators: Bill Weyrick and Kevin Buchanan

    Attendees:

    • Mary Bronson 785-4408 mary.bronson@hitchcock.org
    • Bob Brown 785-4492 rgbrown.com
    • Rebecca Buchanan 333-9981 rebeccabuchanan@connriver.net
    • Polly Cole 785-2016 neal.meglathery@valley.net
    • Marie Eiter 785-4606 marie.eiter@dartmouth.edu
    • Mary Hensley 785-4247
    • Linda Ide 785-2898 bvietje@connriver.net
    • David Marks 785-4304 cmarks@valley.net
    • Linda Mellen Shepard 785-2855
    • Bob Milanese 333-4149 bobm@dad.state.vt.us
    • Laura O’Connor 649-5209
    • Martha Rich 785-4128 martha.rich@valley.net
    • Diane Roston 649-5209 diane.roston@dartmouth.edu
    • Jim Taylor 785-2842 james.taylor@valley.net

    Goals

    • Consistent information
    • Regularly scheduled
    • Universally distributed
    • Synthesizing some existing newsletters
    • Reporter
    • Multiple Sponsors
    • Cataloging
    • Periodic publish directories
    • Create a sense of community

    Resources Needed

    • Thetford talent
    • Sponsors

    Potential Obstacles

    • Scope
    • Money
    • Content
    • Human resources
    • Lack of computer access (web site)

    Action Steps

    • Invite local Thetford talent to participate in the meeting (i.e., John Scotfield, Dana Grossman, Petey Becker, Dean Whitlock, Barry Clark, Greg Meyers)&endash;Jim Taylor
    • Gather a review of known costs&endash;Linda Ide
    • Gather a list (and examples of) of other Thetford publications&endash;Becky Buchanan
    • Gather information on other municipal newsletters&endash;Lelia Mellen

     

    6. Planning for Rural Character

    Contact person: Fran Peront (333-4149)

    1st Mtg: 7:00 pm, Wed, Dec 10, Latham Library

    Facilitators:

    Attendees:

    Goals

    •  

    Resources Needed

    •  

    Potential Obstacles

    •  

    Action Steps

    •  

     

    CONCLUSION

    Each small group reported back their plans to the entire group. The full group discussed next steps to keep up momentum from the Profile, with each group appointing someone to represent them on an oversight committee. The day ended with a short discussion of Valley VitalSigns.

    The meeting dispersed at 4:30 PM.

     

    APPENDIX

     

    Thetford Community Profile Participants

    ?

    Thetford Community Profile Facilitators

    ?

    Thetford Community Profile Steering Committee

    • Susan Arnold
    • Bill Bridge
    • Kate Cone
    • Janice Cook
    • Julia Eaton
    • Elfie Forbes
    • Dick Hodge
    • David Kelman
    • Tom Kinder
    • Linny Levin
    • Deecie McNelly
    • Tom Ozahowski
    • Pi Smith
    • Mary Spata
    • Gary Ulman


    Last Updated 3/10/1999 - Bill Weyrick