Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Adam Grinold stepped out of the darkness to discuss two proposals. He asked board members to support Wilmington’s participation in a multitown effort to have a section of Route 100 from Stamford to Weston designated as a Vermont Scenic Byway. Dover’s economic development department made a similar pitch to the Dover Selectboard two weeks ago, and Readsboro board members are planning to discuss the project at their next meeting.
Grinold told board members that the state is encouraging groups of towns to apply for the scenic byway designation, rather than a town-by-town piecemeal approach. “The process has been tweaked,” he said. “Normally there would be public meetings before asking for the selectboard’s endorsement, but I think the state has wasted time in the past with communities where they didn’t have support.”
Under the new process, the state is asking the selectboard to endorse the idea and name a representative to the committee that will hold public hearings. “The selectboard could have additional input later, and pull out of the program,” Grinold said.
Grinold said the town already had experience with the scenic byway program through its participation in the Route 9 Molly Stark Trail process. Grinold said there were marketing benefits connected to the designation, including the route’s publication in a guide distributed at a number of locations throughout the state. “The town can also get grant money for additional signage, or for pullouts and scenic overlooks,” added town manager Scott Murphy.
Murphy said the benefits would outweigh the town’s estimated cost of about $150 per year for sign maintenance required under the program. “A lot of travelers look for these (scenic byway brochures) and travel those routes,” Murphy said.
Board members voted to support the effort, and appointed Grinold to the committee.
Grinold also asked the board to support a banner program for Wilmington Village. Grinold said village property owners have said there’s a lack of “color,” notwithstanding the town’s flower program. Under the proposal, several banners would be installed using hardware already in place. Grinold said the banners would be designed by Mary Azarian, with slogans like “W is for Wilmington” and “V is for Village,” resembling Azarian’s woodcut prints. Grinold proposed buying 20 banners, at a cost of $66 each which, along with other items, came to a total of $1,620. After a discussion of the merits of different slogans, the board approved the expenditure from short term economic development money and wished Grinold luck in finding agreement on a chamber committee to decide the issue of design.