Our biggest concern over this is how the selectboards of Wilmington and Dover, and the Tri-town Economic Development Committee, will move forward from Colvin’s decision.
There have been many steps forward taken in the past couple of years, in terms of economic development efforts in the valley. There have also been a few steps backward, and Colvin’s announcement can certainly be seen as one.
What we hope is that the tri-town committee, and the towns of Dover and Wilmington, stay true to the original vision of the Mullin Plan and the efforts that led to the creation of the bi-town planner in the first place. The last thing we want to see is the towns pulling back from the mission set out in the Mullin report and the efforts of the tri-committee over the past three years. Now is not the time to retreat. Too much energy, effort, and money have been expended to allow the process to fracture.
We would urge continued joint efforts to implement the Mullin plan. Dover and Wilmington need to stay on course. For those in Dover who have questioned the need for both a two-town planner and a development specialist for Dover, we would counter that there is more than enough work for all, and probably for another position as well.
Both towns would be wise to look at the recent history of the Dover economic development specialist. The first hiring didn’t work out very well. It wasn’t until the second person took the position that efforts really took off. The same perspective needs to be applied to the bi-town planner position as well.
Change often brings opportunity, and this could be one of those instances. We urge leaders in both towns to stay open-minded, and to be willing to seize opportunity when it arises.
While Colvin’s announcement may cause a short-term shift, we urge all involved to continue to focus on the long-term goals. They are still valid, and still worth pursuing.