Neighbors Together Unveils State-Funded Plan to Market Middlebury
I’m writing with news other than the weather!
Earlier this week the Town of Middlebury and the Vermont Agency of Transportation signed a Grant Agreement that provides $75,000 in state and federal funds to market Middlebury’s business community in 2018.
Built into the Agreement is the expectation that the State will grant the Town additional funding in 2019 and 2020 based on experience gained and lessons learned this year.
Middlebury was previously awarded a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant. Including a contribution from Middlebury’s Downtown Improvement District Commission, that grant totals some $40,000, bringing available funds to market Middlebury in 2018 to $115,000.
The Pivotal Role of Neighbors Together
To develop and execute a plan for marketing Middlebury in 2018, the Town turned to Neighbors Together, a grassroots community action group originally founded by St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, and its lead partner, the Better Middlebury Partnership (the BMP). Neighbors Together took shape as a group of concerned organizations and citizens gathered early in 2016 to support Middlebury’s economic, social, and cultural life and to advocate for downtown accessibility during the Rail & Bridge Project.
In addition to St. Stephen’s and the BMP, Neighbors Together includes representatives from Town Hall Theater, Middlebury College, the National Bank of Middlebury, the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Middlebury, the Addison Central School District, and the Downtown Improvement District Commission, as well community members at large.
Selectboard Gives Thumbs Up to Marketing Investments
At this past Tuesday’s Selectboard meeting, Karen Duguay, the BMP’s Marketing Director, and Nancy Malcolm, Co-Chair of Neighbors Together, presented the 2018 Marketing Middlebury plan on behalf of the entire Neighbors Together group, many of whose members attended the Selectboard meeting along with BMP Board members.
Among the many initiatives planned for this year are a local shopping rewards program, print and social media-driven advertising campaigns, a Middlebury brochure for distribution statewide, a two-page spread in Yankee Magazine, a significant upgrade to the ExperienceMiddlebury.com site that will feature an integrated community calendar, improved wayfinding and parking signage, special downtown events including a return of the downtown block party, and a beautification initiative.
I’ll report progress on all these activities in the weeks ahead.
Neighbors Together reports that its goal is to drive revenue at ALL businesses in Middlebury, from our retail stores to our restaurants and inns, and to invest in the marketing infrastructure needed to support our business community through the project and beyond.
The Middlebury Selectboard, including newly elected Board member Lindsey Fuentes-George and returning Board member Farhad Khan, endorsed the plan.
You can view the presentation and more detail on the 2018 Marketing Middlebury plan on the Town website: