If you’re learning about NCDN for the first time, Welcome! For those who attended the meeting in January, you may wonder what’s been going on since then.
The answer is, quite a bit! While we promised monthly meetings, our Weekly Workgroup decided to wait just a bit so we can deliver a solid platform and tangible examples of NCDN’s initial direction.
But first, here’s a primer for the uninitiated:
2015 wasn’t a great year for Northfield — until December 11th when a group of 14 people, including Selectboard member Matt Gadbois, met to discuss the formation of an economic development organization at the Brown Public Library Community Room. The initial idea was to reboot the dormant Northfield Business & Professional Association, but former president David Blythe recommended starting a new organization for legal and logistical reasons.
Momentum built, and on January 14th, the group grew to more than 30, representing a cross-section of people with a broad range of professional and business expertise. Selectboard member David Maxwell joined Gadbois, updating folks about the Town’s Economic Development Committee. Local business owners, Norwich Faculty and Staff, new and long-time residents came together in agreement to form a non-profit organization. One with the authority and resources to take real action.
This is how the Northfield Community Development Network (NCDN) was conceived.
On May 19th, we will meet again for the official launch of our new organization.
With a current body of almost 40 people and a Weekly Workgroup of 6, NCDN has incorporated and is getting down to business. Carolyn Stevens, CPA, has agreed to serve as Treasurer. Attorney Bill Smith is guiding us through our application for tax-exempt status from his office on Depot Square. Many thanks, Carolyn and Bill!
As a network organization, we are beginning to meet with local organizations and ask a simple question: “What can we do to help?” We want to help create a collaborative environment among local groups as each one does its part to help improve our community.
But networking and collaboration are just starting points. NCDN is committed to economic growth and vitality. We need to address housing and we need business development. This type of work requires a budget and staff. We’ll get there. For now, we’re building our network and forming a base of support.
So, here’s what’s happening behind the scenes!
Road Sign Project NCDN will be collaborating with Leslie Striebe and and Emily Wrigley of Go!Northfield on the visual design (not structural) of road signs to be placed at the North and South entrypoints along Route 12. Leslie has worked tirelessly on this project for coming on to two years. We’re excited to work with Leslie and Emily as this project comes closer to completion, and other projects in the years to come.
Banner Project: Sally Davidson and Wendy Rae of the Recreation Committee have proposed a road banner project and we are happy to work with them as well. Ideally, Go!Northfield’s signs and the Rec Committee’s banners should be visually compatible. This is a great example of how NCDN can help coordinate similar work by local groups and facilitate projects across the community.
Tree Planting Project: NCDN has joined the Conservation Committee on the development of a tree planting project. Pamela Knox of the Conservation Committee has agreed to become our Network Liaison so we have ongoing cross-communication as the Conservation Committee proceeds with its important work. Ruth Ruttenberg, also of the Conservation Committee, will be writing a grant application to help fund the project.
Northfield Rotary Club: Bob Doyon and Nicole DiDomenico have agreed to Network partnership and serve as NCDN liaisons. The Rotary Club has provided years of public service and we look forward to joining their efforts.
056VT Television Show: On March 21st, professional videographer and television show producer, Andrea Melville, is launching her new interview-format show on Channel 7. While we don’t have a project with 056VT yet, NCDN looks forward to a working relationship with 056VT. Please join Andrea at the Community Room Monday, March 21st at 7:00 pm for her live debut performance!
Norwich University: While we don’t have official Network Liaisons with Norwich University at this time, NCDN membership includes several faculty and staff employees in various departments. NCDN is poised to facilitate communication and potential projects of mutual benefit for Norwich and Northfield. We look forward to an opportunity to formalize relationships with both the university and the town as NCDN strives to improve local vitality.
Next Meeting: The Weekly Workgroup decided to hold the next meeting when we have tangible work to share, like final logo designs, etc. The tent We are reaching out to the Director of Revitalizing Waterbury as a potential speaker. RW is an official non-profit partner with the Town of Waterbury. RW’s work has led to a substantial rebound. Their work can inform NCDN as we move forward to improve local vitality.
Thank You’s: NCDN would like to thank everyone for their continued support. Special thanks to Vince and Norma at the Falls General Store for providing meeting space at the yoga studio upstairs. Thanks also to the Norwich University Office of Communication for the same courtesy. Finally, special thanks to our Network Liaisons and new Treasurer, Carolyn Stevens.
Now it’s time for me to ask, “What can you do to help?“
Right now, we’d love to hear from you. And we’d love it if you help spread a good word about NCDN. So it’s simple, really. Fill out the contact form and talk to your friends! And let us know what you think.
— Nate Freeman, President.