Wilmington Works is a nonprofit committee, created through the Vermont Downtown Program, which will work on improving and supporting the downtown by following the program’s Main Street Four Point Approach, which focuses on organization, economic restructuring, design, and promotion. The work involved with each category will be delegated to four subcommittees, which can add members and volunteers for projects as needed.
After approval of the downtown program in March, an advisory board was put together consisting of 11 members. Program requirements included two selectboard members, Diane Chapman and Susie Haughwout; two members of the Wilmington Fund VT advisory board, John Gannon and Bob Fischer; and a member of the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce, a role filled by executive director Adam Grinold. Other members of the board include Tom Fitzgerald, Doug Laplante, Susan Lawrence, Lisa Sullivan, Sheila Osler, and Alice Richter.
The Wilmington Fund VT will serve as the committee’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt financial sponsor for a minimum of five years, as required by the program, but over time the group will consider creating their own 501(c)(3). Bypassing this process and using the Wilmington Fund VT for the time being will speed up the group’s immediate effectiveness, says Gannon. “Rather than move into an area which takes months to establish, we can begin work immediately and worry less about the financial side of things.” Wilmington Works has also received financial support from the town to the tune of $8,000.
The advisory board’s first big decision was to elect an advisory board chairperson. After the nomination of Gannon, Sullivan, Haughwout, and Lawrence, those nominated had difficulty saying for sure if they would be able to fulfill the role. Since Wilmington Works will be responsible for reporting to both the Wilmington Fund VT and the selectboard, Haughwout said that it would be best to not appoint a chairperson who also serves on one of those two boards.
“It would be nice to have a business owner be chair,” said Haughwout. “That way no one from those boards has too much control and instead we have someone working in the depths of the business community in charge.”
The board decided instead to create two co-chairs who will delegate their responsibilities between them, such as running meetings and creating agendas, and Sullivan and Gannon then agreed to serve as the group’s one-year co-chairs, while Haughwout volunteered and was affirmed for the “unrewarding” job of secretary.
While the Wilmington Fund VT will handle the group’s finances, the board decided to appoint Diane Chapman as treasurer to oversee the group’s bookkeeping. The board will also need to appoint a project coordinator who will oversee the daily work of revitalization.
The board also voted to approve a memorandum between Wilmington Works and the Wilmington Fund VT, which outlines the roles and responsibilities of each through the program.
Meetings of the advisory board will be open to the public. The board will create a set meeting day at their next meeting, Wednesday, May 29, at 8 am.