The town now has “the Wilmington connection,” a Wi-Fi zone that provides online access within the downtown area. The town was able to create the zone through a grant from the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Digital Economy Project, which helps rural towns and businesses utilize online tools. “We felt Wi-Fi was necessary for people passing through, and for businesses that put an order in, and need to put it into a laptop,” said Wilmington economic development consultant Gretchen Havreluk.
According to the VCRD, the downtown revitalization organization Wilmington Works will be supporting the ongoing costs of the Internet connection and maintaining the landing page, while businesses, including Bartleby’s Books and Twin Valley Creations, will be donating some of their Internet bandwidth to boost the zone’s connection.
Wilmington was also able to use the VCRD grant to institute a new website created by the Snelling Center for Government, tailored to the needs of town residents. According to Havreluk, the town will save approximately $300 a year using the new site, which she says is easier to use. “Having a website that is more usable for the community is important,” said Havreluk. “Both Vermont Digital Economy and the Snelling Institute were astounded at the open rate of even the old website. It was one of the biggest in the state. The community uses this site a lot.”
The new website is Wilmingtonvermont.us and features an attractive panoramic picture of the town, easy-to-navigate drop-down categories, and a box on the main page with “most requested” items that residents may be searching for.
To celebrate this latest achievement, the town will be hosting a party tonight at 5 at the town hall, featuring guest speakers from local businesses as well as town manager Scott Murphy and Rep. Ann Manwaring.