Project Londonderry collaborates with local, regional organizations

Everett Vaile (1863-1961) photo of Leslie Benson’s blacksmith shop. Photo porvided by Londonderry Arts and Historical Society
Everett Vaile (1863-1961) photo of Leslie Benson’s blacksmith shop. Photo porvided by Londonderry Arts and Historical Society

LONDONDERRY, Vt. – Project Londonderry’s working groups and stakeholders continue to identify needed improvements to the downtown area, improved access to recreation and outdoor activities, and resources for greater economic vitality.

We encourage everyone to join Project Londonderry. There are four working groups that meet monthly plus a monthly meeting with all stakeholders and working group members. If you would like to participate or learn more about Project Londonderry, please email

Community Connections Working Group is working in tandem with the town of Londonderry on a collaboration with the Vermont Council on Rural Development. The mission of the VCRD is to help Vermont citizens build prosperous and resilient communities through democratic engagement, marshaling resources, and collective action. We are currently awaiting notification from VCRD of our collaboration to initiate public interest and involvement in Project Londonderry.

With Project Londonderry underway, the timing to bring VCRD into the process could not be more perfect. VCRD will engage residents to hear what they want, what is important, and how they would like Londonderry to thrive and grow. VCRD is able to connect us with state and federal resources to help us realize our goals and vision. For towns throughout Vermont, VCRD has helped towns realize their goals for affordable housing, growth of current and future businesses, preparing youth for the future economy, and leading initiatives to address the challenges of climate change, flood plains, and economic change.

Main Street Working Group continues to identify improvements to enhance the North Village for livability, business growth, and access to services and recreation. At the October meeting, the Mill Pond dam was discussed and the need to have the dam assessed for functionality and safety. The group shared ideas on possible improvements and potential uses for the future of the dam. Also discussed were ideas such as banners with seasonal themes as a way to create a fresh, welcoming look to the village area.

To help define the future of Main Street, the Planning Commission has applied for a grant to complete a Main Street Study and master plan to provide a realistic plan for revitalizing our primary commercial area. The study will assess environmental factors, economic growth potential, and the ongoing vitality of the North Village. Key to the planning process is engagement with residents and government entities to ensure their interests are reflected in the master plan. Ultimately, the master plan will provide a blueprint for needed investments and funding that will be sought through grants, donors, and private investors.

Recreation and Outdoor Resources Working Group is focused on three key priorities: mapping of town trails to be available online and as a brochure or map for residents and guests; developing trail connectivity across North and South Londonderry and a wider trail system to link Londonderry and Grafton via Glebe Mountain; and a pop-up skating event to take place this winter.

The group learned about the Windham County Trail Alliance that is looking at the development of a trail from Grafton to Glebe and South Derry. Everyone was excited about the potential for Londonderry to create trails from South Derry and coordinate with the Windham alliance efforts to build trails from Grafton to Glebe. In addition to studying existing trails around Glebe Mountain, the working group is considering collaboration with groups such as the West River Trail, Mountain Valley Trail Association, and Green Mountain Club. The group plans to have conversations with the Windham Hill Pinnacle Association and the Cross Vermont Trail to tap into best practices and trail expertise of these organizations.

Economic Vitality Working Group has been working closely with local businesses to guide them to resources and help during Covid-19 restrictions. The Economic Vitality Working Group consists of nine members, including business owners and concerned citizens. Although the group was established for the purpose of considering the long-term economic needs and opportunities of the town, much of its attention in the short term has necessarily been Covid-related. To date, the working group has focused on assembling information concerning the challenges faced by the town’s businesses, including retailers and recreational facilities such as Magic Mountain.

Along with other working groups, Economic Vitality is looking into ways to improve marketing efforts for local businesses, including improvements to the shopping center’s information kiosk and the development of online information. We are also working with the Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce concerning the preparation of promotional materials to benefit the town’s businesses.

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