LUDLOW, Vt. – The village of Ludlow was recently selected as a recipient of a Better Places program grant for their Gathering Spot Project. This project was one of only eight place-making grant award winners selected statewide. These funds were provided to improve the vitality of state designated downtowns and village centers. Grants award winners were selected to help communities reimagine and reopen public spaces for safe dining, shopping, and recreation, while showcasing the state’s unique sense of place.
This Gathering Spot project is a collaboration between the town of Ludlow, Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, Fletcher Farm School for the Arts & Crafts, and the Expeditionary School at Black River. The purpose of the Ludlow “Gathering Spot” project is to enhance community gathering places for dining outdoors; build social capital among the project partners working together for the community’s benefit; engage community artists and the creative economy through project partners; and leverage student participation.
The Ludlow Gathering Spot project will be located within the town village and will enhance existing outdoor seating options through the addition of “art infused” picnic tables, together with new trash and recycling containers. Ludlow’s Main Street is lined with many eating establishments; however, many continue to offer takeout services. With warmer weather approaching, these outdoor gathering spots will also offer a safer alternative to indoor dining. This main street is also home to a variety of small shops, and installing benches on the sidewalks would serve to provide a resting place for shoppers. The Gathering Spot project will place 8-10 artistic picnic tables and trash containers in the following locations: Elm Street Park, Veteran’s Memorial Park, Tesman Memorial Park, and Dorsey Park.
The Better Places partnership is a place-based economic development program that revitalizes public spaces, empowers residents, supports local recovery efforts, and advances community-driven place-making projects in Vermont’s downtowns and village centers. This pilot grant program is a funding collaboration of the Vermont Community Foundation, Agency of Commerce & Community Development, Department of Housing & Community Development, Vermont Arts Council, National Life Group Foundation, and the Preservation Trust of Vermont. Other partners included American Association of Retired Persons, Local Motion, Department of Transportation, Department of Health, and the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.