The Town of Danville, led by a Steering Committee of residents and local officials, will kick off a 14-month effort to develop a master plan that will connect the Town’s many assets, including the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. The Steering Committee hopes the project will build community excitement, create safer access to the Rail Trail, and increase economic vitality. Danville has hired the DuBois and King (of Randolph, VT) planning group to provide technical assistance for the project.

“Danville is fortunate to have a strong framework of assets that provide residents and tourists with things to do and places to go in order to build excitement and draw in new energy from the surrounding area,” said Chris Sargent, Senior Planner for DuBois & King. “Good connections between assets are like circuits that provide the power communities need to be vibrant and energized. This project will provide Danville with a realistic and achievable plan to connect those assets through infrastructure investments, marketing and community engagement.”

The Danville Village to Village Project, as it has been named by the Steering Committee, will begin in earnest with significant public engagement activities that will take place on Saturday, August 11 at the Danville Fair (located on the Green in downtown Danville). The Steering Committee is organizing a project-themed parade float and a booth where fairgoers can stop to talk about the project. There will also be volunteers inviting locals and visitors who use the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail to participate in a survey that will provide much needed information about how the trail is used and its benefit to the local economy.

“This is the first of a number of opportunities for the community to be involved with this project,” Sargent explains. “Throughout this process we will have several great community events, which are designed to allow people to actively participate.” A project web site, has been created where citizens can find regular project updates, event announcements, reports, data and invitations to provide their thoughts during the project.

The Better Connections Program is a joint funding effort from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Agency of Transportation which “seeks to align state and local investments to increase transportation options, build resilience, and strengthen economic vitality in Vermont’s community centers.” Danville was able to apply for these funds with assistance from the Northern Vermont Economic Development Association.