Rutland creative economy forum continues

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(Host) The second round of Rutland’s creative economy forum will be held tonight at the Paramount Theater.

In March, more than 150 people gathered for a brainstorming session to come up with ways to boost economic growth, stimulate community pride and enhance Rutland’s arts community.

As VPR’s Nina Keck reports, residents are invited to come back tonight to vote on four projects they want to pursue.

(Keck) Some of the ideas being considered include: developing an open air mall on Center Street; creating more affordable housing projects on the upper floors of downtown businesses; starting a conference center in Rutland and creating a bike path throughout the area.

(Lamy) “I think the success to all of this in helping revitalizing Rutland city is that people in so many different sectors are working together for the first time and are getting to know each other and respecting what each other does.”

(Keck) That’s Whitney Lamy, Director of the Crossroads Arts Council and one of the lead organizers of Rutland’s creative economy efforts. She says those attending tonight’s meeting will help shape the city’s future. Besides voting on which ideas to pursue, Lamy says participants will also find out about other projects that are already underway in the community.

(Lamy) “The Rutland Herald is debuting a new arts and cultural section right before Memorial Day that’s going to run every Thursday in the Rutland Herald and we’re really excited about that. So there’s another source of information to promote the arts and culture of the region and successfully change that mindset that there’s nothing going on in the Rutland region.”

(Keck) Lamy says last week’s hugely successful train parade showed local residents the power of collaboration. She hopes the positive buzz generated by that event will translate into a large showing at tonight’s meeting. After the four priority projects are chosen, she says participants will meet again at the end of the month to develop action plans to help implement the projects.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.

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