The conference’s title, “Resiliency,” certainly describes the mindset of those who have overcome the disaster of Tropical Storm Irene’s floodwaters. That others from around the state are willing to pay a visit to the area to see firsthand how the town worked to bring itself back is a testament to the local spirit and can-do attitude.
Too often the people in the valley become insular, not willing to look beyond the mountain ridges that wall off the rest of the world. We often seem unwilling to share our story with others as well. In this case others are coming here to find out what that story is, and what it can be.
It is a great opportunity for the valley to showcase itself to a statewide audience. Locals can present their wants, needs, and dreams to a new audience, one that cares about what has happened here and seems to be willing to do something about it.
Alternately, here’s a chance to broaden our local perspective through input from others across the state. The conference features workshops and seminars geared toward community preservation and revitalization. Those two concepts are not mutually exclusive; one can lead to the other. There is much that can be learned from other communities that have had their own issues with preservation and downtown revitalization.
Keeping the flavor of our rural communities, while planning and building for the 21st century and beyond, will take planning and effort. It brings to mind the “Four C’s” mentioned in this space in previous editorials: consensus, capital, consistency, and community. All of those components must work together to aid in the valley’s rebirth. The conference will offer another opportunity to see how to bring those four elements together and have them work toward Wilmington’s rebirth.
Speaking of capital, something that should be exciting to businesses and landlords is the new tax credit for businesses recovering from Tropical Storm Irene. We certainly hope that many businesses in the area will apply. What a shame it would be if no businesses took advantage of the tax credit that was announced here in the Deerfield Valley. No doubt there will be some hoops to jump through, but we hope it will be a simple and rewarding process for businesses.
We hope that local officials, business owners and managers, landlords, and curious individuals from throughout the valley take part in the Preservation Trust conference.
It’s one more opportunity to tell our tale, to help rebuild the cornerstone of our community, and to chart our future course.